What Every Author Should Know About Radio and Television Interviews

If you are a published author—or plan to be one—you will inevitably be asked to appear on a radio, television, or Internet show to talk about your book. It’s critical that you learn to do this well. Assuming you have written a good book, nothing drives sales of it more than publicity.

Close Up of a Microphone and On the Air Sign - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Graffizone, Image #7629279

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Graffizone

I was personally thrown into the deep end of the pool with my first book. In the course of eighteen months, I did over 1,200 interviews. I appeared on all three major television networks plus CNN, as well as national and local radio and television. During that time, I went through three rounds of professional media training. It was total immersion. Baptism by fire.

More recently, I have sat on the other side of the table, interviewing authors. I have hosted the Chick-fil-A Leadership Backstage program for the last two years where I have had the privilege of interviewing the speakers after they spoke. In addition, I routinely interview authors for my own blog. Sadly, while most authors spend a lot of time honing their writing skills, very few hone their interviewing skills. As a result, their books do not sell as well as they should.

Therefore, based on my experience as both an interviewee and an interviewer, I would like to offer ten suggestions for improving your interview skills:

  1. Prepare thoroughly for the interview. Before the publication of each book, I have identified all the questions I might be asked. I have then written 3–4 talking points in response to each question. I don’t write out the answer verbatim; that would sound too canned. I then prepare a “Briefing Book,” using a three-ring binder with one tab per chapter. Behind each chapter, I put the relevant talking points, statistics, and illustrations. I ad lib from that.
  2. Remember that the show is not about you. This is a big mistake many rookie authors make. You are not the star of the show. The host is—or perhaps more accurately—the audience is. You are there to help them get what they want. Your job is to keep them interested in the topic, so they don’t change the dial. This is key to the producer keeping his or her advertisers happy.
  3. Understand the audience. You can’t help the audience get what they want unless you understand them. Television shows, radio shows, and Internet shows are used to providing demographic and psychographic information to their advertisers. You can cut right to the chase by asking the producer or the booker for this information. In addition, before interview begins, it is a good idea to ask the producer if there is anything in particular you should know about the audience.
  4. Don’t expect the interviewer to have read your book. Many first-time authors complain that the interviewer didn’t read their book. Trust me: this is the norm. Assume that the interviewer hasn’t read your book, and you won’t be disappointed. And whatever you do, don’t embarrass them on-air by asking! Instead, make the host look smart by providing the producer with a list of questions to ask. Nine times out of ten, they will ask you these exact same questions.
  5. Be able to explain what your book is about in a few sentences. Many authors cannot do this. They have never crafted an “elevator pitch.” Here’s the concept: You get on the elevator of the NBC building in New York City. You suddenly discover that the producer for The Today Show is standing next to you. Being polite, she asks what your book is about. You have 10 floors to tell her—about three sentences. You need to write this out and memorize it. It should be no more than 2–3 sentences.
  6. Listen carefully to the questions. It is easy for authors to become anxious and interrupt the host. This is never a good thing. Plus, you might find yourself answering the wrong question. Make sure that you let the interviewer finish. Then affirm the question. Even if it is combative, you can say something like, “I totally understand where you are coming from. In fact, I had that same concern when I first started researching this book.” Then answer the question—don’t dodge it.
  7. Keep your answers brief and to-the-point. There is nothing worse than a rambling author who is missing the interviewer’s cues. The host keeps trying to interject a point or “bring the plane in for a landing.” Perhaps the producer has already queued the music, but the author keeps right on talking. This is not good. A good interview is like a ping pong match: the interviewer hits the ball over the net. The author then gets in position and hits it back, starting the cycle all over again. In addition, you need to speak in sounds bites.
  8. Be energetic and authentic. From the interviewer’s perspective, there is nothing worse than a low energy, superficial interview. Instead, you must be energetic. If you are not excited about your book, how do you expect anyone else to be? If you are doing a phone-in radio interview, stand up. Walk around. Smile. Even though your audience won’t see any of this, they will hear it in your voice. Believe me, it makes a difference.
  9. Don’t become defensive. Don’t expect the interviewer just to throw you softballs. His job is to keep it interesting for his audience. Nothing is more interesting than conflict. You should expect tough questions and a little drama. This can actually help you win over the audience—if you have done your homework, and if you remain calm under fire. Resist the urge to become defensive. It only makes you look weak. Instead, agree where you can agree. Follow the feel-felt-found formula: “I know how you feel. I felt the same way. But here’s something I found in my research.”
  10. Refer listeners back to your book. This is the art of the soft-sell. Publicity doesn’t do you any good if you don’t point people back to your book. If you’re too aggressive, it will turn potential readers—and the host—off. If you are too laid back, the publicity won’t result in sales. Instead, mention the title, offer a few nuggets or “free samples,” and then refer people to the book for more information. For example, “In my book, The Dance, I provide seven tips for resolving marital conflict. We don’t have time to get into all of those right now, but let me give you the first two.”

Writing a great book is half the job. The other half is embracing your role as the book’s chief spokesperson. If you do this well, you have a chance of creating a long and successful writing career.

Question: What other advice would you give to authors about doing radio and television interviews? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

    I found this post quite interesting since I haven’t appeared for any interview of this sort! So this post gives me a “behind-the-scenes” view of the whole process. Thanks Michael. 

    • http://www.shapingdestiny.org Kenneth Acha

      I agree with you Joe. I’m currently writing a memoir of my life from living as an underprivileged grade school drop out in a Cameroonian village to graduating from a U.S medical school and committing myself to live my dream life: serving orphans through my organization http://www.shapingdestiny.org . I want to put my book in the hand of every orphan on earth and every young man/woman in the United States. I don’t know if radio/TV station will interview me yet, but I want to be as prepared as I can be even if a group of orphans or a group of teenagers decided to interview me.

  • Nancy Peske

    Wonderful suggestions! I also think it’s important to be aware of what the TV set looks like and plan accordingly: If you have a coauthor, which one will talk more and which of the two chairs provided should she sit on? Are there chairs, or stools, and will you feel comfortable sitting in your outfit? Very short skirts, light colors on the bottom when you’re heavyset, socks that will show if you sit down–all should be considered. You’ll be more comfortable if you’re not thinking about how you look on that too-high stool or too-low couch.

    http://www.nancypeske.com

    • Anonymous

      Great feedback. Thanks for that Nancy. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      These are excellent points. Often you won’t know how the set will be arranged, especially for local television. But you can always wear TV-friendly clothes. It is especially important to avoid thin strikes. They can look they are moving on the camera.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for sharing your site.  I liked it

  • Amy

    I would add, if possible, listen to the show on which you will appear. This will help you to know a little about the host and add to your ability to play conversational pong pong. Most programs stream live on the internet these days. Make some notes about the host – does he or she have kids? what interests does he or she have outside work or family? how has he or she gotten to this position? Any career or life defining moments?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent advice.

  • Anonymous

    I did a radio interview once and for some reason got really nervous. That was out of the norm for me since I was actually a radio host. I was on the other end of the mic this time and it wasn’t my first time.  The author said, “tell me about so and so..” I said, “What do you want to know?” 

    That deserved a forehead slap. I learned big time from that interview though. Be prepared. People are listening!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s pretty funny. I learned the hard way not to ask questions of the host, unless I honestly don’t understand the question.

    • Jmhardy97

      Great advice!

      Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Be prepared. — I think that is the key to success.

      • Anonymous

        Yes. I obviously thought I was prepared. I was wrong! :)

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    Great points. I’ve only had one radio interview and it went pretty well. Hoping for more opportunities to talk about my Bible study. Thanks for the heads up!!

  • http://toppup.com Russ Pond

    #7 is key for me — keep it short. In my interviews, I learned that short, concise answers are wonderfully effective. It puts the burden on the interviewer (who is trained to ask questions) to keep the interview engaging. It’s when I felt like I needed to explain and talk for long periods of time that it became awkward.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Yup! We should be able to follow KISS (Keep It Short and Sweet) policy.

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Hopefully my experience as a pastor will help, more than hurt when I do my interviews.  Wait. Gotta get published first… (working on that)

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Go on Chris! One day, you will the bull’s eye with persistence and energy.

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Haha! Thanks Uma!!!

    • Pam

      Go Chris! it was our work as a pastor and Dir of women that lead to our books (37 of them now) [ You can see what God has done at http://www.Love-wise.com Our first book was released when our church was less than 100 people!  work with people in the trenches is valuable to an author– appluse to you for loving people– whittle away at that book!  

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Thanks Pam!

  • Pat Layton

    Very good stuff Michael. I loved the “briefing book” idea. I have an onstage Pastor interview this weekend (4 sermons-YIKES) and a radio interview next week. 
    The timing is perfect for me. 
    Another “save” in my Evernote Michael Hyatt idea file :)Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Pat.

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

      Glad to hear I am not the only one with a Hyatt Notebook in Evernote.  Although mine is a stack, with 3 different notebooks.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That totally cracks me up!

  • http://twitter.com/davidteems David Teems

    I am part squirrel anyway, but in my first radio interviews particularly [with my book Majestie], I had command of the material, certainly. I even think I was articulate in rare moments, but my energy was so flush, so immediate and so uncontrolled that when it was my turn to talk it was like some pent up creature being released from the stall. (You might imagine a balloon when the air is let out and it flies around the room, wild and unpredictable and at a great velocity.) My wife always steps in quietly, without sound and makes her hand motions, as if to say, “slow down” or “bring your volume down.” The only thing that salvaged those first attempts was the effervescence, the animation that drove my part of the interview. It could not be said that this guy was not passionate. But passion can be both friend and enemy if you’re not careful. Spew is not the effect you’re after. Controlling your passion is perhaps the most important thing you can do to effect great interviews. It’s not easy, especially if you love your subject (and why write a book if you don’t). When I read your list, that is what I hear—take this great bustle of energy and generosity and turn it into clarity and precision. Passion is most powerful when it is controlled. Only then can it gain the right rhythm, the right pace and volume. The shine is then conspicuous. It is both attractive and irresistible. And the interviewer can’t get enough of you. I have been invited back often. To control my inner squirrel was the trick. Great post, Mike.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience, David. This is very, very helpful.

    • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

      David, I love the “inner squirrel” reference. Very appropriate!

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Haha!

    • Jmhardy97

      Very good

      Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Passion can be both friend and enemy if you’re not careful. – That’s true David. I think we can control the passion to our advantage when we are able to stick to our purpose.

    • Anonymous

      Wow! I’ll remember this one because it describes me too well.

  • http://profiles.google.com/happypostalvan Raymond Schwedhelm

    Excellent suggestions for also being interviewed about His Book. We should always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have in Him with gentleness and respect. 

    • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

      Nice segue Raymond! While not everyone may be a published author, we are interviewed often about our Father’s Word. Can we capture our daily experience into an elevator pitch that encourages another to check it out for himself? Do we get defensive when someone asks a question we can’t answer, or do we instead humbly consider options to learn together? Oh, and when we “answer”, do we take opportunities to lead to deeper questions?

  • http://Busyness.com Dr. Brad Semp

    Michael – this is GREAT stuff!  Thanks for sharing!  As I’ve recently started this “tour”, your advice is very timely.  Point #3 is something that I simply haven’t been doing, i.e. asking for demographic information.  I have routinely been providing a list of interview question as you suggest in Point #4.  I can confirm thus far that 100% of the interviewers have based the interview on the question set that I provided.

    Thanks again for the awesome information.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great, Brad. I am glad it was helpful.

  • David C Alves

    Mike, great post on an important niche. Amazingly, I found that experience preaching cross culturally helped in my media interviews. Thinking in sound bites and waiting for them to be translated. Do that enough and you begin to really zoom in on what needs to be said and how simply it should be said. Loved the point: “Remember that the show is not about you.” I’ll be better at interviews for having read. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could apply these tips as readily as I’m able to apply all that you’re sharing for the adoption of Evernote. Maybe I can get my friends and family to do practice interviews that I’ll record and review on my own, in eager anticipation for the day I’m a published author. I love it! Thanks, as always, for these useful lessons. 

  • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

    I am a long way from needing these rules, yet I read them anyway. Many of them I had figured out just from watching interviews myself. Sort of like the negative leadership lessons I so often refer to. It is great to see them lined up so nicely, and I know that when I am finally a published author who will be getting interviewed I’ll know where to look (though I’m sure it will work for any interview).

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Great tips. Agreed that publicity is important, especially the RIGHT publicity. The issue is that the media landscape is changing. The outlets that once carried more weight don’t seem to move the needle as much as they did a few years ago. A result of fragmentation in my opinion.

    My suggestion is for authors to embrace and seek publicity BUT don’t put all their eggs in one basket with just the pursuit of radio and TV alone. To achieve success today, most authors need a multi-pronged approach that includes outreach for radio and TV but they also need the ability to generate visibility IF radio and TV don’t occur (or are minimal). There are plenty of authors who don’t do much radio or TV at all but they still achieve great results (because they had a strategic plan).

    You said, “nothing drives sales of it more than publicity.” I agree with that statement to a degree but respectfully disagree at the same time. Just depends on how one defines “publicity.” If “publicity” is traditional media then I disagree. If “publicity” is visibility from any outlet that has an audience, then I agree.

    To me, the thing that drives SUSTAINABLE sales most is getting books in hands and getting people to read and digest the book content so that they share with others – Word of Mouth. (There is a reason why people like Seth Godin would give away 3000 copies of his books before they launched). Sure, publicity helps immediate sales but I advise new authors to give away copies of their book or tidbits of their content (ebooks, manifestos, etc) as much as they can in order to achieve long-term results.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I mean publicity in the broadest sense. As you know, I am an advocate of social media. But that doesn’t mean traditional media is dead. I believe a complete publicity strategy will include both. And, yes, I totally believe in give-aways.

      • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

        Agreed. Traditional media definitely still works. I just get sad when I see so many authors (especially first timers that I come into contact with) working old school… stepping into the game thinking they ONLY need to land radio and TV but not understanding it is a much more comprehensive approach these days.

        I know the post was specifically about Radio & TV interview tips, which were fantastic, so I apologize for going a little sideways. Haha. : )

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          No problem. This is content that will eventually go into my book, so I am trying to hit building a platform from every angle. However, social media will be the focus.

  • http://amylynnandrews.com Amy Lynn Andrews

    What a fantastic post. So many of these tips would be excellent for everyday communication as well (it’s not about me, understand the person I’m speaking too, don’t dominate conversation, etc.). But still, I’m filing this one away for someday. :)

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      I agree with you Amy. Just left a similar thought in a post before I read your comment. Communication is key. 

  • Diane Rivers

    Your post and the comments are GOLD. I will save this one! Thank you so much~

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    I just self-published my first book, and although no one is asking me for an interview, you never know what can happen! Thanks for this helpful information.

    • Sergius Martin-George

      Mr. Dodson: I’m planning to start a podcast this fall.  Contact me if you’d like to be interviewed.

      smgeorge@ymail.com

  • http://twitter.com/StephenSauls Stephen Sauls

    How do you walk the line between “adding value to others” by giving away info for free, and referring people to your book, which is a tactic to drive sales?  Many connected followers are accustomed to getting blog and ebook writings for free.  How do yo determine when to withhold something from these outlets and turn it into a book or other purchased resource?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You have to give away enough value, so that people are left wanting more. This is more of an art rather than science.

  • http://profiles.google.com/helenleemail Helen Lee

    1,200 interviews over 18 months? That is incredible! Such great, practical help in this post. Another idea I’d like to offer is that if you can tie your questions to something relevant in the news, that helps give the producers even more reason to potentially want to interview you. Sometimes I think we authors assume that because we’ve written a book, people will naturally want to know about it! But that is not necessarily true; we have to “sell” to producers why they would want us on their show. And work in close conjunction with your publisher’s publicity team so that you are all on the same page about various ways they can help pitch you and your book to various media outlets. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are exactly right. Two of the media training seminars I attended really focused on this: how to make your content relevant to the day’s headlines. This is an important skill to learn.

  • Elaine W. Miller

    Have fun! If you have fun during your interview, people will have fun listening to you.

    Great blog, Mr. Hyatt! I refer many people to your posts as they are such a great help to me as an Author/Speaker. Thank you for your daily encouragement.

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Michael, I’ve said this before, but I appreciate the diversity of your blog. These tips are very handy even if we aren’t participating in national media tours. My favorite part of the post is the feel-felt-found formula (#9). I’ve never heard of that exact reference, but it could serve us well in a myriad of situations. Thanks, again!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I sometimes fret that I am too broad in my blogging. But this breadth really reflects my interests. Thanks for your encouragement, Jason.

      • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

        I think the breadth of infomation is what keeps people coming back. There are only so many Evernotes posts you can do.  :)

        • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

          And at the same time, there are so many more Evernotes you can do.

      • Brasscastlearts

        I agree with others here: don’t fret! You are achieving a wonderful balance of your interests and skills in your blog posts.

  • Elaine W. Miller

    Relax and have fun! If you have fun doing your interview, people will have fun listening to you.

    Thank you for your daily encouragement, Mr. Hyatt.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Relaxing is important but often tough. I find that telling myself to relax and then making sure I breathe helps. Thanks!

  • http://www.thereligionteacher.com Jared Dees

    A big thing I try to tell authors when the are just starting out is to make sure their name and URL of their website is easy to remember if they were to say it on a radio interview. Although the conversion from offline to online is small, it is still important to make sure the website is easy to remember. If you already have a website and the URL is tough to remember, tell people to just “Google [insert your name or a phrase that you rank #1 in the search results]“. This is another reason why developing a simple book website can go a long way.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Very good point.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a very good point. It is also great if you give them a reason to go to the site: get a free e-book, sample chapters, discount coupon, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Michael this is some great insight for people who going to be in this situation.  I would also add that you have to be comfortable with silence.  If you have given your answer and it is complete and the interviewer does not say something back immediately do not feel like you have to say something.  It usually just muddies up the answer you have just given.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I agree.

    • Jmhardy97

      Good point!

      Jim

    • Anonymous

      Another good overarching point to add to the first 10–and David’s.

  • Drusilla Mott

    Thank you so much for all of your helpful information.  I am only just beginning this publishing process.  I  have received one letter of inquiry about my first Inspirational Romance novel, and am in the process of final preparations for submission.  I know absolutely nothing about any of the future procedures that will come up and I am learnng a great deal from you.  Thank you.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      That’s great! Hope it goes well.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Great points. Seems like so much of how we can succeed in just about any given area of life is based in above average communication skills. Apparently, interviewing to share our message about our book is no different. I like the “feel, felt, found” method. A great way to handle a conversational wrinkle, a spontaneous argument, and even a interview question. Great & very helpful article. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mark. I always think that most of life is selling—selling yourself, selling your idea, selling your product, selling your service, etc. If you master it in one area, it pretty much works in another.

      • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

        Totally agree with you. I’m a fan of Zig Ziglar and I’ve heard preach the same message.

  • Colleen Coble

    You’re my hero! :) What a great list. I especially like the one about not droning on. I’ve heard interviews like that. Snore! 

    But the one piece of advice I would add is that if you’re an extrovert like me, you have to remember to SLOW DOWN. I talk fast in normal conversation and when I’m enthused, that ramps up even more. I hold an index card that says SMILE. SLOW DOWN on it. :) It helps some but it’s still a challenge for me.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Very true, for those of us who already talk fast as it is, it is much more of a challenge!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Colleen, I love that you know that about yourself. I have the same issue. I have had to consciously work at slowing down in both interviews and in my speaking engagements.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post from the trenches, Michael. I have met many speakers through NSA who have to do interviews like this all the time. I would add three points to your insightful list.

    1. Join Toastmasters. Joining a TM group will give you a place to practice your interviews before a live audience in a safe environment. Toastmasters has an entire speech manual for doing TV, Radio, and other forms of live interaction. I would suggest that authors come up with popular questions and have someone playact the TV interviewer. The author then needs to get comfortable answering the questions. This may take a few sessions, and it’s a good idea to have a different “host” each time, so you get used to a variety of personalities. Having done this speech manual, I can tell you how hard it is to give a good interview. Practice, practice, practice is the key here. When they are done right, a good interview that elicits excitement can sell hundreds of books. (I know.. because I’ve bought a few after a great presentation)

    2. Work with an Image Consultant. If you are going to be on TV or video, how you look may be as important as what you say. Wearing the right clothes and having your hair professionally groomed can make a huge difference in your presentation. Using the right colors and styles can subtract weight, and give you the desired look that you are portraying. For example, a murder mystery author needs a different look that a romance author. A professional consultation can pay huge dividends.

    3. A Voice Coach. If you are going to do radio, podcast or live interviews, having the right vocal tone, pace, and inflection can really enhance the interaction. Learning how you sound and removing filler words such as Um, Ah and You Know, will make you sound more professional. This is where a good coach can make a difference. They can help you project better using deep breathing techniques, and learn to pace properly using intelligent pauses. I’ve seen novices improve greatly in just 5 minutes with a good coach. Once you learn the techniques, you can practice them at Toastmasters to refine them.

    While these three things may cost you a few hundred dollars, and some time, the resulting, image and voice you portray to millions of people on TV will be substantially better. Using your list above as a checklist will ensure that the speaker’s desired goals are met.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      These are great points, John. Thanks for adding this to the conversation. (This is why I always say the meat is in the comments!)

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Just wanted to let you know that you made the latest issue of Toastmaster’s magazine on page 21 as one of the most influential Public Speaking and Leadership tweeters. Hopefully lots of new tweets coming your way.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Awesome, John. Thanks for sharing that!

    • Jmhardy97

      John

      You always have great insight. I had forgotten about Toastmasters.

      Jim

  • Amy Gross

    Great tips!

    After the interview, I would suggest being a good guest and return the favor of publicity by publicizing your interview and the media outlet.

    Tweet a thank you to the media outlet with a link to the interview and/or write about it on your FaceBook page. And, of course, always send a thank you note.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      These are excellent suggestions. If I feel the interview went especially well, I try to get my publicist to rebook me right then. I have done many shows numerous times.

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    Insightful post, even though I doubt I will ever be interviewed on TV.  I would love to read a post about asking good interview questions also, as we are planning a series of interviews for our twenty-something ministry.

  • Shelley

    Thanks for posting this, Michael! As both an author and a TV host, I find this to be an invaluable resource. I’ll be passing this along to my producers as well. Great stuff!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You know this type of thing would probably be a good thing for producers to send to all guests as a matter of procedure. “10 Ways to Be a Great Guest on the [Name of] Show.” Thanks.

  • Ramon Presson

        The show isn’t about ME?  Brief and to the point?? Oh, Michael how I needed this post a month ago! I’ve been doing radio & tv interviews for my new book “When Will My Life Not Suck? Authentic Hope for the Disillusioned” and I wish I could have some do-overs!  Pardon me ma’am, can I play a mulligan on the first 10 minutes of our interview.
         For a tennis and ping pong champ you’d think I’d understand about keeping the ball in play back & forth, but sometimes I’ve acted like a running back intent on not fumbling and turning the ball over to the other team.  Notice how at half-time of football games the analysts & commentators will frequently compare the time of possession for each team? I don’t even want to think what my percentage of hogging the ball is.  This is painful to ponder but necessary so I thank you for cutting me with no anesthesia. 
          It’s still early in the interview game so I can adjust. I’ve got a block of interviews coming up at the Christian Retailers convention next month so I’m taping these 10 great tips to my bathroom mirror and on my wife’s forehead. I’m forwarding your post to every author friend I have.  (To my author enemies I’m sending a CD of my Detroit radio interview.) 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ramon. You are ahead of 99% of most authors, because most are not conscious of their behavior and not trying to improve. You’ll get the hang of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brojocan Joseph Canal

    These are all great suggestions for informal conversations with people you want to connect to. Especially #2: Remember that the show is not about you.

  • http://alexspeaks.com Alex Humphrey

    I dig this, Michael. I have never really thought through a lot of these points. I hope to be interviewed in the future (after creating magnificent products! Lol), and this will help me a lot. Bookmarked and saved!

  • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

    I was recently interviewed for a promo video at my daughter’s school. I flubbed it. The interviewer sent out potential questions ahead of time, but the first couple questions were not from that list and I froze up and then rambled. The questions I had prepared for were not sound bites. I felt horrible afterward. 

    I’m well on my way to 10k hours of public speaking, so I went into the interview with some confidence. Being taped, though, is a different animal. Your suggestions are very helpful.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You said something very important: public speaking and being interviewed are two different animals. Some skills transfer, but some don’t. Kudos to you for recognizing the difference.

      • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

        Is there a Toastmasters equivalent for this type of medium?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Not that I am aware of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ane.mulligan Ane Mulligan

    I spent 4 years as a lobbyist for Christian Coalition. I had to learn how to do interviews quickly. The best advice I ever got was (and you see it in churches all the time when someone is asked to give their testimony) know when to shut your mouth. Once I learned to answer the question succintly and then close my mouth, my interviews went well. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great advice! My first job out of college was in sales. My dad used to tell me, “Once you’ve closed the sale, shut up.” Many sales people un-close the sale by continuing to talk.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    These are all great tips!

    In addition to understanding the audience, I would add understanding the interviewer.  It is helpful to know there general style of interviewing – are they friendly, supportive, provacative, etc.

    It was alluded to in a couple of points…attitude is a big thing.  Being energetic and not becoming defensive; and, the overall way that you carry yourself, body-language, facial expressions and the way you engage the interviewer/audience – these all make a big difference.

  • Margaret Brownley

    Michael, thank you for these great tips.  One thing I found helps me sound vibrant and enthusiastic is to dress professionally–yes even for a radio interview.  Sloppy attire makes for sloppy speech.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. It has an impact on YOU.

  • Stacy Harp

    Another important topic.  I have a few thoughts, since I interview authors all the time, and have dealt with the good, the bad and definitely the ugly.  I’ve doing a few thousand interviews and have learned things along the way…after all, when you’re an Internet radio host – no one really teaches you anything.  So.. here are a few things I’d recommend.

    1.  Venue is important, if you’re on Internet radio specifically, which is what I’m speaking to – note that your host is footing the bill for your appearance.  Maybe it’s only the cost of buying air time on Blogtalkradio, or even some other network – but remember that, the host is PAYING for YOU to publicize YOU, not them.  Respect that.

    2.  RESPECT the time of your interview.  IF you must cancel or be late, give the host some courtesy and call.  We understand things happen, but if you can’t pick up the phone to give the host a call even 5 minutes before your interview, I guarantee that you’re not going to be asked back.

    3.  Don’t be a diva author.  Michael already commented on the fact that most hosts haven’t read your book – this is why lead questions and press packets exist.  Some of us try to read the full book, but sometimes its just not possible.  Recently I had a first time, self published author demand that I read his book completely before I interviewed him.  I explained that wasn’t going to happen and canceled the interview.  He then wanted to come on anyway – I said no.  And as far as I know, I was his only interview.  Don’t be stupid.

    4.  Realize that hosts are getting pitched hundreds of books to look at, so when your book is picked, be thankful.  It is AMAZING to me how many authors have this entitlement attitude, like “hey I wrote this, this is the best book in the world and you SHOULD interview me…”  Really??  I don’t think so.  Many are called, and few are chosen. ;)

    5.  THANK your interviewer.  It is completely amazing to me how many guests don’t bother thanking the interviewer.  If you’re like me, and do everything from booking the guest, to hosting the guest, to footing the bill for the platform for your guest and you read the book and spend hours prepping – the very least you can do is thank the interviewer.  Sometimes this can include a nice thank you card in the mail.  I guarantee you that YOU will stand out if you do that, and that host may invite you back.

    I could go on, but these are my top 5 tips for authors and interviews.  Hope it helps.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Stacy, thank you for this list. It is invaluable, especially since it is coming from an experienced interviewer. This could be a post in itself! Thanks again.

  • Julie H. Ferguson

    I coach authors to smile as well, even on radio. It animates their voice.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      I think the smile also makes the person seem more approachable. This is a great asset even on stage. Especially on a stage. 

  • Alaina Odessa

    Great stuff!  Thanks!  Now the only goal becomes scheduling the actual interviews…   Please share any advice you have on that.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a whole other topic—maybe a book!

  • Brasscastlearts

    I hope you might put together a similar list of pointers for fiction writers, although many of your current points also apply to fiction.

    I would suggest to fiction writers that any fiction writer who is not good at reading out loud, definitely ask someone who is good at it to read your selected sections to the audience.  A live radio or TV interview might not lend itself to a third party attending just to read such sections out loud, but perhaps a pre-recording would serve the purpose.

    I haven’t heard dreadful readings on air, but I know that not all writers are goor vocal readers, and I’d hate to see a wonderful author get refused air-time because his reading voice is awful.

    Do you have any experience with this kind of situation?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t have much experience with fiction in this regard. However, here is an example of a GREAT reading from Ian Cron. (Watch the video.) It’s not a novel but a memoir. They are not exactly the same but close.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Thanks for providing the link. As I watched and listened, I wondered how Ian’s 10-minute reading would take less than five. He wrote well. He read well. And he didn’t finish the story. Rats!

        The book’s already on my reading list and now I have a clearer picture of why.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      In reference to an author reading his/her own fiction, I remember almost putting away an interesting audio read because a favorite author wrote the story better than he read it. If that had been my first experience with his writing, I may have never finished the story nor read another of his novels. In an interview, I don’t know how one would overcome a read-out-loud deficiency because it’d be strange to have the author in the interview but not have him or her read a passage.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    Once again, Michael, you are a godsend! I am in the process of lining up all my “ducks” in a row for a targeted marketing campaign for my book later on this summer. (Even though my book was self-published in late April, my day job–teaching high school English–is also demanding a lot of my attention.) The one thing that has been concerning me is media interviews, so your post is just what I need. God sure is using you a lot in getting my book out there, so thank you so much! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. I am so glad it was timely.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    By the way, how often have you appeared on TV/radio/internet for book interviews?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      All of the 1,200 I mentioned were book interviews for my first book. I have probably done another 600 for other books.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Wow! That’s a lot!

        _____

  • http://www.karenjordan.net/ Karen Jordan

    Very helpful post–great reference to use in preparation for interview. I really like your “Briefing Book” idea.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I’m just on point one (and as I slid by the other nine points, I’m wondering will have a lot more questions than I have time to ask?). Just point one raises a couple of specific questions (I’m weeding them out quickly).

    First, what’s an example of a question you prepared for and were glad you did? I ask this just to get a practical feel of what you’re advising.

    Second, even with all the preparation, how often are still surprised?

    Thanks–Tom

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Here’s an example: “What makes you an authority on this subject?”

      I am rarely surprised any more. In fact, I prefer not to see the questions in advance, even if they offer. I like the adrenaline rush from having to think on my feet. But that’s after a great deal of practice.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        You include a tough question right off the bat. I think it ranks right up there with “Why do you believe you’re qualified for this job?” We often don’t think in terms of our strengths or what makes us an authority. I appreciate the quick lesson. (I’ll have to email this post to my Evernote file.)

      • http://lovingallofyou.com Michelle Jorna

        Thanks for this post. I have just had my first book “Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle, Loving ALL of YOU” published and want to be well prepared for radio interviews. Can you tell me the top 10 questions authors are most likely to be asked?

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Point two–this is just great advice. You’re there to promote your book but you do that best by leaving a positive impression with the host and the audience.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Point six reminds me of a recent conversation with my wife in relation to what I write on my blog and what I post on my Facebook page. I didn’t let her finish her thought before I interrupted because I knew where she was going. But I didn’t know where she was going and had to apologize plus admit she had a great point (which she did–a prodigious insight I’d have missed if she’d taken offense and halted a productive conversation). Thanking her wasn’t hard at all but I diminished the following offer of appreciation by the previous act of interruption (in other words, after almost blowing it, I couldn’t thank her enough). Listening to the end of a statement or question is wise counsel.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    In Point eight about being energetic, you offer some excellent practical advice for a phone interview, which probably happens more often than a person would think. I suppose it’s a good idea to keep your cell phone battery charged during those times as well (if that’s the number used for the interview). I tend to converse better on the move anyway so this advice plays to my preference. I suppose you can’t do that in a radio sound room or on the set of a television program.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is correct.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    Great post for interview prep. It sounds like waltzing with the interviewer. Listen and watch for all the verbal and nonverbal cues. Seems that this is about answering the audience’s question “What value will this book add to my life?” I’m sure I come back to re-read this article when that time comes for me!

  • Al Pittampalli

    Michael, this is a fantastic list. I’m glad you endorsed mentioning your book. I’m always a little hesitant to do so, but it’s clear we need to be assertive (but not too pushy) if we want to drive attention to our book or site. Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. That’s why you are there. The interviewer knows that and—if he or she has done his job—the audience knows that. That is the quid pro quo of interviews: they provide the audience; you provide the content.

  • http://www.jondale.com Jon Dale

    Great post Mike.  Here’s another great resource: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/05/how-to-be-interviewed.html

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jon. That is an excellent resource.

  • Pat Katepoo

    Most of these terrific tips apply to interviews with print journalists, too.  They’ll love you if you dish them pithy sound bites that makes writing their newspaper or magazine feature story easier. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Very good point, Pat.

  • Kathleendonovan

    What I have to offer here is the advice I give guests every week on the job as a televison interviewer and producer ( we do not do stories on authors LOL): consider this a conversation; be yourself.
    In advance I will suggest that the guest not wear stripes, white or polka dots. As another person mentioned it’s important to wear appropriate clothing for the environment. You being comfortable in this situation is key. It’s difficult to relax until you’ve done it a hundred times, so make sure you’re not feeling like tugging on your jacket or skirt and of course remember that the interviewer is just a person, a curious person who wants to educate his or her audience while helping you promote your book.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kathleen. Excellent advice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Krämer/100001481863376 Laura Krämer

    I have to admit I held my breath as I read this post. Having gone through several radio interviews for our business I was expecting to have great regrets on my “performance.” Thankfully, I can look back and be pleased. The one thing I did learn from your post was to extend grace. I could tell when an interviewer was familiar with me and my product and when they were not. I know now it is the norm. I did find on a couple of occassions they knew too much–which left me somewhat out of material–but I rode the wave and it all turned out fine.

    Thanks for a great and helpful post. I will keep this one for future reference. I imagine book interviews will be far different than products interviews…

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    It’s hard for me at this stage of the game to imagine ever having even one interview! However, you never know, it’s better to be prepared right?! I bookmarked this page, I think it’s great advice. Actually I think it’s advice that applies across the board in communication of all types.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. I think it applies in a variety of situations.

  • Jmhardy97

    Very informative post. I do interviews from time to time and you shared some great practices.

  • http://sheridanvoysey.com Sheridan Voysey

    Some brilliant thoughts, Michael. I have interviewed dozens of authors over the years (the last count was over 2000 interviews), and been a interview guest myself over my own titles.

    I would add two things to the conversation here:

    1. Answer succinctly. A short answer allows the interviewer to ask more questions. Now, don’t make your answer so short that it sounds clipped and impersonal, but work on a comfortable 60 seconds per question. This can go longer if you are a great story teller, but no more than 2’30”. A succinct answer will get more questions asked, more info out on you and your book, keep the interview pacy and so keep the host engaged.

    2. Be careful on mentioning your book during the interview. This is an interview, not an advertorial. We have declined top-tier guests a return on our shows after they’ve crossed the line by mentioning their book’s title every second answer. A good host will do a ‘reset’ every few minutes (‘This is [show name] and I’m talking to [your name], author of the book [such and such]‘), plus a wrap about you at the beginning and end of the interview. If the host doesn’t do this, then do mention the book’s title naturally in the conversation a couple of times.

    I can tell you that hosts and producers love interview guests that are informed, prepared, knowledgeable of the show’s audience and good communicators – as Michael’s points above describe so well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Sheridan. These are both great points.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the professional tips to encounter book interviews to aspiring authors like me.

  • http://ShannonsStudio.com Shannonportfolio

    Very good info. Do you have a link to an interview of yours so that I can listen and hear what you’ve suggested in practice?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep. Here is one. Here is another.

  • http://ShannonsStudio.com ShannonStudio

    Very good info. Do you have a link to an interview of yours so that I can listen and hear what you’ve suggested in practice?

  • Linda Johnson

    Sound information.  Thank you.

  • Linda Johnson

    What color should I wear on television?  I understand, that extra pounds appear on the screen.    Maybe, baby blue?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, baby blue is a great color.

  • Pastordharris

    Thank you! Very helpful to me as a new author to the “interview game”! Will make the adjustments needed! Thanks again.

  • http://missionsuntold.com Jordanmonson

    Great advice Michael. I’ve noticed a lot of blunders but have never been able to put my finger on what was awkward about the interview. Should I ever be published, I’ll come back to this post! 

  • http://twitter.com/DrDaltonSmith Saundra Dalton-Smith

    Where was this post 1 months ago when Set Free to Live Free (Revell)  first released! I’m now 20 interviews into the process and wishing I had this great information in the beginning. My tip for anyone new to radio interviews would be “Relax!” Stress comes across on the air. Find a way to unwind and get calm before the interview. My second tip would be to enjoy the process! A publisher liked your work, now others in media want to share what you know with their audience. How cool is that!! Enjoy the chance to share topics you are passionate about with others!

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    Wow…absolutely love this! Thanks for the great tips and insight! ~ Melissa

  • Pam

    For newer radio hosts, some times we the guest need to help them look good. If they ask an awkward question, look stressed, seem uninformed, help them out by paraphrasing their question into one you can answer, and if possible compliment them or connect to them and their life in a way that brings them in or makes him or her look good. I have gained favor by being a champion of the host, I see it is part of my role as a guest to help him or her succeed (even if they have not read my book or even my bio!) ) I learned long ago that good manners is helping people feel welcome and at ease– and media hosts are some of the most stressed people I know. It is a cut throat biz and I have found if I care for the host, on and off air, he or she might want me back again. Sometimes, even after I am off air, I might follow up with him or her and send a personal note, a book or resource (maybe not even my own but one to help him or her in some way), or an article or sidebar/sound bite that might be helpful  from my website (www.Love-wise.com) for a future show or  as back up info if they find themselves with 2 min of dead air sometime . . .  In any case, caring for him or her FIRST, is I think, what Jesus would want me to do– love the  host, as Jesus would.  

  • http://www.Love-wise.com Pam

    Michael, you might want to do a post on what to wear on TV– I find that more stressful than what to say!!!! The joke is “the camera adds 10 pounds, so how many cameras has she been sitting in front of?!” Thanks for all your great info– I benefited (Bill and I) as authors at Thomas Nelson when you were there– and we are always blessed and encouraged and equipped by your blog! thanks! Big prayers for grand success as a freelancer!

  • http://www.kimketola.com Kim Ketola

    Michael–great advice! I produced and hosted talk shows on both general market and Christian stations. My pet peeve was the author who didn’t understand that he or she had been invited for their expertise! To paraphrase the apostle Paul, “A book should not give you a spirit of timidity, but instead a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind”–especially if you are a Christian writer with God’s message of truth. So be bold in proclaiming what you know.

    Be encouraged that if  you make it through all the editorial reviews to actually get invited to be interviewed, the team that asked you to appear on the air expects you to be confidently knowledgeable about your topic, and able to convey it in a memorable way–apart from your book. The reality is that the host most likely has not read every word of your book–nor has anyone listenting. Think of an interview as a conversation in which your goal is to stimulate the appetite by the content you impart.

    And don’t shy away from using your best wordsmithing! Way too many times I was drawn by great chapter titles and pithy sub-heads, but in conversation, the author rambled. Use your own key phrases–but artfully, without mentioning that you’ve said it before.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good advice, Kim. Thanks.

  • C.P.

    You misspelled cues as queues. A queue is a line of people. I’m not sure that’s what you meant. 

    Great and very useful article, though. Many thanks  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for catching that. I have corrected it.

  • Kimberly

    Please write a blog on how to do 1200 interviews in 13 months! :-)

  • http://www.kimberlytmatthews.com Kimberly

    Please write a blog on how to do 1200 interviews in 13 months! :-)

  • turner_bethany

    Wow. 1200 interviews. Definitely baptism by fire. 

    I think your suggestions are great and really can be applied to any interviewing process not just authors. It is always good to be prepared. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/odyssey9794 Peter Hart

    For a television interview, remember that people will see you. Be presentable. Dress well. Comb your hair. Sit up straight. Look as though you are interested in being interviewed and that you are happy to be there. You should be; the producers have many other people who are crying to get on the air. Don’t make them wish that they had chosen someone else.

  • Burke Allen

    Michael, this is one of the best, most concise briefings on doing media interviews I’ve ever read.  As a longtime broadcaster and now head of a P.R. firm that does media training for our clients, your advice is spot on.  

    One piece of additional advice is to duplicate the situation as much as possible “off the air”.  That’s why when authors, politicians and entertainers attend our next Media Mastery Weekend here in DC Oct 21-23rd http://www.mediamasteryweekend, we conduct training interviews in a state of the art radio and TV studio facility, with network level anchors and interviewers asking the questions.  

    If you can’t make it to a formal training, practice with a friend either in person or over the phone; rehearse your timing, inflection, tonality, etc.  Most of all, enjoy the process!

  • http://twitter.com/_ParentingTwins Lois Ridley

    Hi there, I just wanted to let you know when I used your tweet link…it did funky things and did not post until I cut and paste it. Not sure why…

    I also LOVED the article, as a newbie fresh out the gate!

  • Graciela Tiscareno-Sato

    Michael,
    Thanks for this. I launched my first book at Stanford University a month ago. Because I’m a trained product marketer and PR person by trade, I started speaking at universities 8 months ahead of the book’s publication. Therefore, I’m doing LOTS of media interviews now and appreciate these tips very much. I will print out the list and review it ahead of all future interviews!

    Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

    *Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Gracefully Global Group, LLC

    *Speaker
    on innovation and entrepreneurship in green economy
    *Author of Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them

    –the first
    book showcasing Latino-led innovation in the green economy, to inspire students and career changers toward environmental entrepreneurship [note elevator pitch! :-)]
    http://www.latinnovating.com

    Connect
    via Facebook

    Twitter: @Latinnovating

  • http://www.delphiinternational.com Donna Seebo

    As a talk show host that interviews over 200 authors a year one of my biggest frustrations is authors wanting to do the interview by cell phone.  Rarely is the communication clear…there are burps, gurgles with sound and there is a concern about the signal being dropped.  Authors should use a land line whenever possible.  Also, turn off your message service system so your voice won’t cut out while you are being interviewed.
    I am one of those rare hosts who actually reads the materials I am interviewing the author about so I expect them to be prepared to talk enthusiastically and intelligently about their publication.
    Your article is well-done and all authors should read it.
    Thank you, Donna Seebo,
     “The Donna Seebo Show”, BBSRadio.com, Station One, 3-4pm, PST, weekdays. 10 years of empowering others to reach their potential and know their options for a successful life.

  • http://twitter.com/PublicityHound Joan Stewart

    Don’t take your book with you to the TV studio with intentions of holding it up in front of the camera. 

    Yes, take the book. But let the host hold the book. 

  • Janehancock76

    was an on air health reporter for several years in a major market.  Media training is very valuable, but expensive.  The most important thing is to be as “amped up” as your interviewer — you are going to go through several layers of electronics before your image and voice come through.

    In my book, The Accidental Senator, there in an entire chapter devoted to the main character’s media training.  At $14.99, on Amazon, it’s a lot cheaper than media training. 

  • Jane

    I was an on-air television reporter in a major market.  It is important for you, the guest, to be as “amped up” as the host.  Why? Your image and voice will go through several electronic filters before it reaches the viewer/listener.  

    Media training is expensive, but for $14.99 you can buy my book, The Accidental Senator on Amazon.  One entire chapter is devoted to a mewbie getting media training. 

  • Michelle Hollomon

    Thanks for this list of concrete things I need to prepare for. I’ve got a couple radio interviews coming up and really value this information. Thank you! One extra thing: I’ve got to be ready to interview by 5:00 a.m. my time. I think I will wake up an hour before so I don’t have that sleep induced scratchy throat.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trina-Holden/515132083 Trina Holden

    Thank you for this great article and the meaty comments! I’m preparing for my first radio interview. This post gave me lots of tips as well as making me very grateful that the interview will not be live! LOL

    http://trinaholden.com/realfastfood/

  • Thurman A. Brunson

    Mr. Hyatt

    A few years ago I was privilaged to do a 30 minute interview on a christian radio station.  I was totaly unprepared.  Your ten suggestions has helped me immensly.

  • Brian Cohen

    As the interviewer I am in full agreement with your comments. As much as I would like to read each book, I just find it difficult from a time standpoint.

    What I really look for is the connection with the book/author and the audience. My show is a blogtalkradio program  for 30 minutes. If the intro and first round of our “Ping Pong Match” is not  connecting with the audience then the interview has missed it’s purpose.

    It is everything that the author understands the focus of the show. Perhaps it is focused on motivation, sharing business ideas, enjoying life, what ever it may be the interviewee must fit that. Most can, it just depends on what portion of their story is the main focus.

    If you would like to improve your public speaking skills and gain more confidence I would strongly suggest you find a local Toastmasters club. I have been a member for over 7 yeasrs and all of my media opportunities are through introductions made within the Toastmasters community, and I became a better and more confident speaker.

    Brian Cohen

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  • Therightfitnow

    How did you get that many interviews in the first place?  How did it all start>

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  • David Sanford

    Two more professional power tips:

    11. Break down complicated questions. President Clinton did a terrific job of this with his press briefings. Let the reporter know that he has asked you two or three separate questions, then answer them one by one.

    12. Offer multiple answers to important questions. Internationally renowned author, broadcaster and evangelist Luis Palau does a masterful job of this. If a reporter asks a question he’s just been waiting to answer, Luis will say, “That’s a great question. There are three things I’d like to say about that. First….” It’s not that Luis has memorized his answers. But if the topic is something he’s passionate about, Luis will just say he has three – or four – or even five things to say about that subject. And every time, he instantly comes up with three – or four – or five points on that topic.

    How does he do it? Easy. Remember, the mind is an amazing machine. If you tell a reporter you have four points on a subject, SNAP! Almost instantly your mind will formulate four points for you to talk about. As long as the topic is something you’re passionate about, this works every time. Try it with a family member or friend. Yes, it takes a little practice, but it really works!

    –David Sanford, http://www.linkedin.com/in/drsanford

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great tips, David. Thanks!

  • http://your-own-free-website.com/ Jason Matthews

    Good stuff. I like the feel-felt-found formula, will have to incorporate that one. Also he’s right about it not being about you–it’s about the audience and what your book can do for them.

  • Elviera Susannah Schreuder

    One thing I’ve learnt is that you must get to know your body and how it responds when you are nervous. Then when you go for an interview, the symptoms will most likely appear, but you will expect it and you will be able to overcome it with more ease.

    I usually get out of breath and my heart beats really fast. If I give it some time, my heart slows down and my breathing returns to normal again.
    I’ve also noticed that when I present in front of people or consult people, I become really thirsty, so I prepare for that by having water close by.
    Another thing for me is that I must not hold paper or a device with my notes on it in my hands – this causes the shakes to over take me!
    So, I mostly speak from the heart and from my knowledge base OR from where my passion lies. I’ve learnt that this puts me at ease

  • Priyanka Yadvendu

    This post was super helpful. Great tips here. I liked how it focused on providing value to your readers and audience, instead of “Look at me and my book.” Ultimately, writing a novel or book is to provide some kind of value to people. If people find the value, they’ll automatically buy copies.