TV AND RADIO INTERVIEW GUIDELINES
Be prepared, find out:
• Who’s doing the interview?
• What the interview is about?
• What is likely to be asked?
• What is the programme?
• Who is your audience?
• Is anyone else is being interviewed? At the same time or separately?
• Is it live or recorded? (When it’s live it can’t be edited)
• How long is needed?
• Tell the interviewer beforehand if there are areas you can’t speak about.
Make your points
Think of two or three points you want to make during the interview. Write them down and make sure you make them! Get them in as swiftly as possible because if it’s live the interview will probably be short, and if it’s recorded, they might not listen to the end of the interview even if that’s where your killer point is.
Keep it simple
Few people sit down and listen to radio, they’re invariably doing something else at the same time so complicated sentences and facts get lost. The simpler you can keep it the better.
Keep it natural
You’re talking to ordinary people in their homes; imagine you’re speaking to just one person. Avoid jargon and keep it friendly.
Use your imagination
Painting pictures in people’s minds mean they remember what you say. Use examples if you can, don’t use people’s names without permission.
Treat all microphones as if they are live
Don’t say anything in front of a microphone that you wouldn’t be happy to hear going out on air.
You are the expert and remember most interviewers simply want information from you. Don’t go in expecting a rough time. Having said that, be aware of current controversial issues.
Your manner and what you look like and sound like have much more impact on most people than anything you say. Smile if appropriate (it relaxes your voice). If possible know something about the interviewer.
Don’t be intimidated
You will usually know far more about the topic than the person asking the questions. The interviewer’s only role is to draw you out to help you tell your story. You are the expert. Be prepared for the occasional personal question.
Cutting in is unattractive but if you decide it’s necessary do it decisively.
Use the opportunity for maximum benefit. Whatever questions are asked ensure that you make the points you want to. Never get angry.
TV & RADIO INTERVIEWS - PRACTICAL ADVICE:
What you look like does matter. Make-up in moderation and a relaxed but professional style are best. No white tops or herringbone fabric. To avoid the “bunching up” of your jacket sit on the back of your jacket.
When they first call, ask them to phone back in 5 minutes. Use that time to make notes – your 3 points. But don’t write a script - you’ll sound wooden.
Take your 3 points clearly written on a small card. Position yourself about 12” away from the microphone. Concentrate on the interviewer – treat it as a conversation. Don’t thump the table or rustle papers.
You operate the equipment yourself, but it will be self-evident when you arrive. You can’t see the interviewer, so listen hard. Answer when it’s your turn; butt in confidently if necessary. Treat it like a telephone conversation although in this case you’ll be using headphones or an earpiece.
Treat it like a discussion and respond positively. “That’s a good point, but the real issue here is …”. You are free to take notes – the name of the caller, the point they’ve made or the next one you want to make.