Monday, March 31, 2014

Four Tips for Preparing for a Radio Interview

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recently did a radio interview for a US-based blog radio site. It’s a monthly program with four interviewers chatting to four authors in different genres. I filled the speculative fiction spot for the month chatting about Angelguard, spiritual warfare and a little about Australia.

This was my first experience and I learnt a lot as a result. I thought I’d share four of them with you as a means of generating some dialogue amongst us all. I’m very much the novice and I expect there are many amongst our group who have some valuable insights to share.

1. Take responsibility for communicating your message

I had requested some questions prior to the interview but Carla, my host, indicated she wished to simply make it a conversation. I was okay with that but prepared specific messages to share.  Carla was very good guiding the conservation and I didn’t feel I had to force it to share a little about Angelguard’s key themes.

Like all aspects of marketing our novels, we should be the most passionate advocates of our work. Make sure that passion comes across in your delivery and messages.

2. Give short responses and don’t fear moments of silence

It was tricky because of a time delay and not being able to see the person I was speaking to. It’s just like having a chat over the telephone; well in fact that’s what I was doing.  Carla and I talked over each other a couple of times, which was a bit awkward.

Short sharp responses help both yourself and the host.  Try to finish each response definitively as this helps the host know you’re ready for the next question.

3. Make sure you plug where you can be found on the net

This is really important so listeners can find you after the interview.

4. Listen to the interview afterwards

This is important so we can learn what we did well and what we can improve on.  It’s funny how we get surprised hearing ourselves, isn’t it? “Really, is that what I sound like?” Yep, that’s how everyone hears you.

I was a little disappointed on listening to it. I think I got my messages across okay but there were too many “ticks”, that is, “Ums, Ahs, you knows”. It took away from the punchiness of the chat. I’m a slowish thinker on my feet and much prefer a prepared talk as I’ve done my thinking prior to it. I’ll have to work on ways of better managing this in future.

It was good fun and I hope I get other opportunities in the future.

Now over to you. What tips do you have for doing great radio interviews?




Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, 
Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

15 comments:

  1. Good for you Ian. What a great experience. The time delay does make things tricky but you are correct about short answers. Knowing your subject thoroughly gives you the confidence you need to sound competent to listeners. Like you I prefer to know what ground will be covered as I also think better on computer than in speech. However practice definitely makes for improvement. A good interviewer will draw you out because they want the segment to sparkle. And enthusiasm does it for a listener. Now I hate to admit this but on my very first interview, years ago, I actually answered "mm" to a question and nodded my head!!! Can you imagine? Since then, thank the Lord, I've conquered my nerves.

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    1. Well Rita, you sound like an experienced radio interviewee. Now I know who's brain to pick for future ones.

      Thanks so much for your reply and here's to many more interviews for the 2 of us.

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  2. Ian, thanks for sharing your tips :) I hate listening to myself on the loud speaker at work, let alone live on the radio. Please let us know when the radio interview is live. btw, I'm finally reading Angelguard - a great story!

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    1. Hi Narelle, it's weird isn't it how we don't like the sound of our voices isn't it?

      Here's the link to the interview. I hope you get the opportunity to do lots of interviews with all the novels you're releasing this year. And thank you for taking the time (& money) to read AG.

      http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2014/03/20/gate-beautiful-radio-show-thursday-march-20th-2014

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    2. With a radio interview, I sit in front of my laptop with a few key pages open — like my book description! I can silently move from tab to tab to refresh my memory and answer a question. I hate that freezing feeling of knowing I know the answer (after all, I wrote the book!) but being unable to articulate at the moment.

      Toastmasters can help with thinking on one's feet, also. It's more for speaking in front of groups, but I found I was more conscious of the umms etc that wanted to come out of my mouth even in radio interviews and was able to squelch many of them before they came out.

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    3. Valerie - some great tips. Thank you.

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    4. Ian, thanks for sharing the link. Fascinating interview. It's great to hear more about your trilogy, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel to Angelguard :)

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  3. Thank you, Ian--I should have had this last week when i did a podcast. Plugging my website is hard to remember.

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    1. Thanks Donna for the encouragement.

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  4. Very timely, Ian. My first radio interview will take place in about ten minutes. I'll take your suggestions to heart and we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Wow Jan, love how God uses what we write in the most unsuspecting ways.

      I trust the interview went well. Report back and let us know.

      Bless

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  5. Ian, Maybe I could do a Skype or some such recorded interview with you for my review blog? I am willing to branch out into this!

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    1. Love to do that, Pete. We could do a giveaway too. I need all the practice. Let me know.

      Bless,

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  6. Great advice, Ian. I've done a few radio interview--my last one was at 2 am my time!-and while I'm not completely comfortable doing them, I know they're important. I do like your advice of listening to them afterword, though like others have said, I'm not keen on listening to my own voice. A great learning experience, though!

    I always keep notes in front of me like Valerie said, of basic info on my book. The interview usually takes place months after the book has been written, and I'm in the middle of writing something else. Having those notes helps me not to worry about forgetting something important that I 'should' know. :-)

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    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for your comments.

      I was speaking to a friend of mine last night who specialises in training people to do interviews (silly me I forgot to speak to him before mine) and he said we get used to hearing our voice once we hear it enough. So it doesn't jar as much as it does initially.

      Wishing you all the best with your latest release and trust all is well.

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