A Behind the Scenes Look at Media Interviews

Whenever you do any kind of interview, things can go wrong. This is not to be negative or throw a wet blanket on the experience; it’s more to prepare you so that when “surprises” do happen, you’ll be ready. Whether you’re doing a radio interview or podcast, a Skype or Zoom interview, or you’re doing a morning television segment, you want to be prepared for the little surprises that can happen.

  • If breaking news happens and your interview is with any media brand that covers news, you're going to be bumped. An earthquake or a terrorist attack is going to grab everyone's attention, and unless your topic speaks to that (and even it if does you would most likely be interviewed on day two or three) you're going to be bumped.

Dang!

I know. You’ve spent all this time creating a campaign, honing your messages, pitching the show, traveling perhaps, and something completely out of your control happens. Bummer. The best thing you can do is put an understanding smile on your face and try to get it rebooked as soon as possible. Yes, it’s disappointing, but remember, they have a job to do and they have to get back to it, so be gracious.

  • If you're doing a podcast or Skype interview, check your equipment and then double check it. We love technology -- when it works! And let's face it. It doesn't always work. You don't want your computer to decide to do all its updates just minutes before you are to go live, so test everything the evening before. Make sure your mic and video cameras are working. Double check an hour or more before the interview as well, just to be sure.
  • As far as audio interviews go, remember: You only have the host's voice giving you feedback on how the show is going. There are no non-verbal communication signals that you get during face-to-face interviews. However, and this will seem counterintuitive, you can't depend on the host's responses for feedback because you have no idea what's going on in the studio. For example, if the host seems distracted while talking to you, it could be that all the computers are down and they're just praying you continue talking until everything is back to normal, or they may have just discovered the next scheduled guest has bailed, so just keep talking as if everything is perfectly fine.

If you’re doing a podcast or Skype interview, check your equipment and then double check it. We love technology — when it works! And let’s face it. It doesn’t always work. You don’t want your computer to decide to do all its updates just minutes before you are to go live, so test everything the evening before. Make sure your mic and video cameras are working. Double check an hour or more before the interview as well, just to be sure.

As far as audio interviews go, remember: You only have the host’s voice giving you feedback on how the show is going. There are no non-verbal communication signals that you get during face-to-face interviews. However, and this will seem counterintuitive, you can’t depend on the host’s responses for feedback because you have no idea what’s going on in the studio. For example, if the host seems distracted while talking to you, it could be that all the computers are down and they’re just praying you continue talking until everything is back to normal, or they may have just discovered the next scheduled guest has bailed, so just keep talking as if everything is perfectly fine.

And, finally, here’s a quick little story: I had a client all set up to do the morning show in san Diego one day a few months ago. She contacts me the day before and says this: “OMG! I’m here in San Diego, prepped for tomorrow’s interview finally. I got re routed on Alaska Airlines …but my bag went to Charlotte. 6 women from Alaska Airlines, the sales team at Macys, and my sister and her Mary Kay network totally came thru with clothes, shoes, jewelry and makeup so I am able to do the show!”

Things happen. Expect it. Roll with it. If you’re lucky, everything will move seamlessly. If not, it will give you a great story to tell later on about the media interviews you did for your book.

Do you have a story to share? Let me know at joanne (at) joannemccall (dot) com. I’m always interested!

To you success!

Joanne