How To Crush A Live Radio Interview
Originally published on The D Lowe Playbook.
I was recently asked to appear on the BisTalk show on ESPN radio. Although I have never had any formal media training, I have had a lot of experience that ranges from being on the local news, cover features in magazines, podcasts and national television. This was different. It was a live radio slot. I had always heard that dead air loses listeners and that with the lack of reverb in a studio, the sound is dampened so it can feel extremely cold. So before the interview, I prepared myself mentally for this opportunity. I always treat each interview as if it is the last one I do to ensure that my energy is optimal. Here are a few things I did to prepare:
I researched the host and listened to previous interviews he had done. I noted his style (are they serious, casual or humorous?) and imagined myself in the studio with him. My wife is a communications specialist and she hit me with questions that I might get. This was crucial preparation.
Visualization is a powerful technique that most successful people use. To see the future first in a positive way enables you to then work towards something you have already experienced. Close your eyes and focus on the outcome being great. Imagine how you would feel walking out of the studio having nailed a successful interview and given listeners a profound experience.
Practice breathing and exercise before the interview. This expands your lung capacity and allows you to focus on nothing else other than this. Oxygen helps you control your speech. Water means you don’t get a dry mouth on air. Imagine being on live radio and continuing the same relaxed breathing. This eventually becomes second nature and as you flip the auto-pilot switch, you can focus on the questions the host is asking you.
During the interview these are some things that worked for me:
1). Have Fun
I adjusted my style to that of the host and co-hosts. Bob Ryan and his team are really funny. I am a big proponent of business being fun. So I jumped on this opportunity and threw in my own humor to enhance the experience for listeners. Too many business people are too serious and guess what that means? You turn them off whether it is on TV or radio.
2). Time Is King
I quickly picked up on time cues and how live radio is almost military in its precision. I love time (in my opinion it is the most valuable currency) so I loved how professional and valuable time meant to the BisTalk team and its listeners. “Time waits for no man” as the adage goes.
3). Mic Check
Your mic is always on. Co-host Montana told me this so that when I took my headphones off when we went to a commercial break, I knew to keep the mic up so it wouldn’t hit the table and make listeners hear it. Simple but really important.
4). Learn How To Handle Sensitive Questions
Occasionally there will be a curveball thrown at you and you have to learn how to adjust to hit it. Be prepared for questions that initially make you want to put up your guard, then lower your hands and think fast. Try to answer the question but if you feel it is too direct or you simply cannot answer that question live on air, deflect with humor or be intriguing by using a line like “you’ll just have to wait and see…”.
5). Get Your Message Across
You are on air for a reason. Work out what message you are trying to deliver and why people want to hear about it. Then make sure you try to circle back to your brand and how it can help people.
6). Follow Up
Always email and call to thank your hosts and co-hosts for the interview and support. This is something I do without thinking about it but I am astonished by the number of entrepreneurs who take the opportunity for granted and do not show gratitude for their appearance. If you fail to do this, you will not be asked back on.
Have you been on live radio or TV?
Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.