10 Tips for a Great Radio Interview

author deb scott's book

“The interviewer wants 10 questions from me. What do I send him?”

When Deb Scott published The Sky is Green and The Grass is Blue, and won several book awards, she began to get invitations for radio interviews. I helped Deb come up with compelling questions and we engaged in a role play so she could practice.

Here are some of the tips I gave Deb:

1. Think like your audience. Who will be listening to the call? What will they most want to know? What will resonate most for them?

2. It’s not actually about the book. Focus on the information you have to offer to improve the lives of the people listening. Yes, you want them to buy your book, but you’re on the air to make a difference. Book sales should stem from that.

3. Avoid generalities. Tell a brief (and entertaining) story to illustrate your point.

4. Interviewers love sound bites and catchy phrases. I had Deb use two phrases she coined, “2 minute volunteering” and “successful sabotage.”

5. Be succinct. The most engaging interviews have an upbeat pace and the banter goes back and forth between host and guest. Hosts find it frustrating if you talk too long, especially if you’re not on point.

6. Write out your answers to your questions and have them in front of you. This is your cheat sheet. Of course, because you’ll practice a ton before your first interview, you should know your answers inside out. But sometimes people get nervous, especially those who are new to interviews. It can’t hurt to have something in front of you in case you space out. And it may just make you calmer.

7. Stand up. Your voice and demeanor will naturally be more commanding and confident when you stand. Your audience will hear more energy in your interactions.

8. Have fun. The more you enjoy yourself, the more your audience will, too. Don’t be afraid to use humor.

9. Be spontaneous. Once you’ve prepared and practice, allow some room for spontaneity to take over. Be grounded and centered for the call so that you can really connect with your host and let your inner expert shine.

10. Don’t mention your book too often. It’s the host’s job to talk about your book. Don’t overdo book mentions. On the other hand, if your host doesn’t mention the book at all, by all means, mention it towards the end. Most hosts are quite gracious, however.

Good luck with that first interview! It gets easier each time. Soon, you’ll be a pro.

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