Being interviewed and interviewing other professionals and indusrty people will become a way of life for the public speaker.
Even if you are an expert in your topic, in order to have a great interview you need to be well prepared. The following information will help you get prepared for your interview.
Get as much background information as possible:
When you know what to expect you will be more calm and cool during your interview.
1. Learn all you can about the interviewer or reporter. Listen to some of their shows to get a feel for them. Some things to consider are:
- What is their style of interview?
- Find out if they are experienced in your topic of discussion.
- Send them a copy of your press kit well in advance.
2. Research the radio/TV program that you are speaking on.
- What kind of programs does the show run?
- What are the usual topics?
- Is it a call in show?
- Will there be a studio Audience?
- What are the demographics of their audience? That will tell you a lot about what topics or subjects will be of greater interest.
- How long will the interview last? If you don’t have a lot of time it is important that you get to the main point or purpose of your interview fast.
- Is it going to be a live or recorded interview? Even if the interview is recorded if it is not going to be edited you will have to prepare yourself as if it were a live interview.
- Find out where they plan to do your interview. In the studio or at your location. When doing a TV interview at your location you can plan to have a great visual background like your employees busily working away on your products.
3. Find out what they want the main topic of the show to be, and why they chose that topic.
- Reporters or producers usually either choose general interest topics or topics that are of current interest like current issues in the news.
- It is important to find out why they chose you to talk about this topic and what they expect.
4. Get the interview questions before the program.
- One of the best ways to approach an interview is to offer the interviewer a list of your own question to use in the program.
- Many reporters or producers will jump at the chance to have to do less research on you and your topic and they will take you up on your offer. Especially if they are interviewing you on a book that you have written because it will allow them to not have to read your full book but still sound like an expert on its contents. Basically the advantage of you coming up with the questions is that you will end up sounding like and expert and the interviewer will end up sounding more professional because it will look like he did lots of research on you and the topic.
- If you are not going to be able to give the interviewer a set of your own questions or get a set of his questions before the interview make sure that you try to get a feel for how the reporter interviews and try to be aware of what kinds of questions they will ask. Again make sure you listen to some of their programs before your interview. Find out if this is going to be a friendly interview or if they want to draw up some ________.
5. Find out if your info is going to be the only expert source or if they plan to use other expert’s information or other sources of information during the interview. If so then find out the names of the other experts or the other sources that they plan to refer to.
6. The key steps to a well prepared message
- Prepare clear and powerful opening and closing messages. They will be the most remembered.
- When preparing your questions or your responses make sure that you are clear on the main purpose of the interview. What is the main point that you want the listeners or viewers to get out of your interview?
- Have your main points or example on index cards and keep them with you during the interview.
- Practice your answers with friends or family and keep the answers under 20-25 seconds. It’s amazing how impactful your words can be as long as you are prepared.
- Be yourself during the interview. Use the reporter’s first name.
- If doing a TV interview check your appearance in the monitor before the interview and don’t look at the monitor during the interview, always look at the person interviewing. Wear bright solid colors such blue, purple, burgundy make sure your suits are not very dark in color. Wear business like clothes—be professional. Don’t wear busy prints or shiny fabrics. Do not wear a lot of fancy jewelry that distracts the eye. If you do not have a professional make up artist make sure that you wear makeup as you would normally do everyday and make sure that you brush on powder to eliminate a shiny face on screen.
- Sit up straight, use good posture, smile and be enthusiastic and passionate about your topic.
- If you are taping at your location turn off your cell, you’re phone and your computer because they could all cause distractions.
7. When answering questions.
- When asked a question you can repeat it or rephrase. Repeating it will give you time to think of an answer to the question or make it clearer in your head and rephrasing it can help you answer the question more efficiently.
- If the interviewer asks a negative question rephrase it positively instead of repeating it.
- Take the time to start again if your answer get jumbled or confused don’t be afraid to just say “Let me start that answer again”.
- Make sure you give yourself time to think before you talk.
Interview Questions for Professional Speakers:
How did you first get started as a professional speaker?
How did you know that was the path for you?
What do you wish you had known then that you know now?
Who or what encouraged you?
What was and how did you get your first paid speaking engagement?
What was your first speaking engagement?
When did you decide that you were going to start to get paid to speak?
What if anything were you afraid of when you started?
Did you speak for free when you started? And for how long?
Did you ever think about getting out? And what made you keep going and not give up?
What was your own speaking nightmare and how did you deal with it?
How did you decide on an area of expertise?
How did you decide on your speaking style?
If you didn’t make any money on your speaking in the beginning, how did you survive?
Where there lean years?
Being a professional speaker isn’t always glamorous; describe the unglamorous parts of your life? What have been the hardships for you personally and how did you overcome them.
Did you get mentored, and who was your mentor?
Do you have any books or words that inspired you?
What is the biggest and best piece of advice that you could give a new speaker?