In her first post for Media Insights and Crisis Expertise, Hill & Knowlton UK Media Training Lead Counsel, Catherine Cross, provides her top 10 tips for participating in radio interviews – Grant.
There is a sense of immediacy to radio news that often makes an interviewer press for an instant response. But it may be in your best interest to delay the interview a short time, if necessary, to prepare your key points. If so, offer to call back in a few minutes to be interviewed, and then do so.
In addition, you should ask whether the interview is to be aired live, recorded for use in its entirety or edited to a shorter version, or a news clip. If it is edited for a news clip, your answers should be kept to less than 15 – 20 seconds. Get right to the point. A longer interview to be run in its entirety permits more detailed responses.
Prior to agreeing to the interview, you should establish ground rules with the interviewer. These include checking whether it is OK to stop and completely re-take an answer if you fumble a word or lose your train of thought, agreement to stop the tape if need be for more time to develop a more concise answer; and agreement to call back with updated information if something changes in your facts before the scheduled air time.
If doing a radio interview over the telephone, ensure a quiet environment by turning off noisy equipment and air conditioners, diverting other phone calls, turning off your mobile phone and closing your office door.
Get your energy level up. Sit up in the chair or stand for more alertness and vocal animation. Use gestures to increase vocal emphasis.
Avoid shouting or whispering. Talk in normal tones across the telephone mouthpiece, not directly into it to eliminate the “popping” or “hissing” sounds on the tape.
Avoid the use of numbers unless they’re absolutely essential to make your point. If you must use them, round them off and use sparingly.
1. Give yourself time to prepare.
2. Find out if the interview is to be used live or pre-recorded.
3. Find out if the interview is for a clip (soundbite) or will be used in its entirety.
4. Get pre-interview agreement on ground rules.
5. Maintain a noise-free environment during the interview if on the telephone.
6. Get your energy level up for the interview.
7. Speak at your normal pace, clearly and with good vocal animation.
8. Make sure you have plenty of “colour”: proof points, word pictures and memorable facts and figures which are visual.
9. Make numbers memorable: round them up or down if essential to your point.
10. Warm up your voice, mouth and throat before an early morning interview.