Remember when mom used to say, “You never get another chance to make a good first impression.”? Mom was right, and this includes media interviews, too.
How to deliver a great interview in any media format is always a worthy topic, particularly when you discover a gem of wisdom you haven’t heard before. I hope to offer that to you today by taking a deeper dive into the few precious, powerful moments of how an interview begins. This critical period sets the tone for absolutely everything.
We all have one shot to make a first impression, so let’s make it the absolute best it can be.
I’m going to begin with the most important point first. (Gone are the days of building up to the climax of a story. In a busy, noisy world, we start with it.) Here it is:
You have got to take your internal focus off of yourself.
It’s one thing to have some butterflies and be excited about your interview. That’s actually a good thing as it will produce great energy. It’s a very different result when you’re nervous, or afraid, or all wrapped up in your own thoughts and fears about being liked and doing a good job.
Yet, many authors and experts have these doubts and worries running internally, and because it’s so close to them, they don’t even realize they’re doing it, and they certainly don’t know that they have the power to take control of this.
You have to set those worries and concerns aside. It isn’t about being liked, it’s about liking others. It isn’t about being nervous and afraid, it’s about liking the situation you’re in and embracing the opportunity you are now being afforded.
How do you feel? This matters.
What we’re looking for is for you to feel great! Fabulous. High energy. Ready to go.
If you haven’t felt that way in the past, or worry that you won’t feel that way in the future, let me tell you a little secret. The problem isn’t that you don’t know your stuff. Of course you know your topic. You wrote the book on it. The problem is that you are focused internally on yourself…on how you feel, not how the viewer, listener, or even how the host feels. Your concern lies with how you’re going to perform and what others will think of you.
What to do?
I need you to flip that focus around and get your mind, heart, and soul wrapped around the person you are here to help. Who is your ideal client, patient, customer, reader? What do they need? Are they in any kind of pain? Do they need you to help them through some kind of problem? Even if you’re writing fiction, your reader needs something. Your job is to give your readers an escape from everyday life and its pressures and challenges, perhaps.
Everyone has something they need help with and you are the one to do it, but how effective are you going to be if your mind is all wrapped up in yourself and your own ego needs? Not very.
First things first: Your mind needs to be laser focused on the person you are there to help. Think of him or her at all times, how you want to help them. Just that shift in your own awareness will keep you in your heart and out of your own trivial fears. It will keep you feeling like a giver and that you are doing something good in the world. You are!
If you make that one adjustment for your next interview, I promise your experience is going to be better.
Other tidbits: Here are some other things you can do to make the first minutes of an interview the best. Some of them may seem obvious, but if you make the switch from the focus being on yourself and onto others, these next tips will feel that much more authentic and genuine.
Your first encounter will often be with the producer or host of the show. Smiling and having some lightness in your voice and coming through your eyes will put them at ease, too. Be genuinely happy to meet them. Whether this interview takes place over an online platform with video, or in an audio format, smiling is noticeable. With audio, it can be heard in your tone, tempo, and the energy of your voice. Use it.
Watch the Botox.
I am not a fan of Botox. I had a meeting with a potential client a few years back, and while everything we discussed during the meeting was positive and fruitful, I walked away thinking the person didn’t like me very much. Imagine my surprise when she called me the next day ready to sign the contract. She was thrilled. I was stunned. I learned later that she regularly used Botox, so much so that she had no lines at all around her eyes, even when she smiled.
This comes across, or perhaps I should say it doesn’t come across on camera. If you’re smiling and the audience can’t see the crinkles around your eyes, it’s going to register in their subconscious (and maybe even consciously) that you’re not sincere — that you’re fake and inauthentic. You don’t want this.
Please consider this point when you are thinking about having any work like this done.
Nothing is more worrisome for a producer or host than the initial meeting with your next guest and they seem like they need a nap. Or, they just seem dull and uninterested. You have to amp up your energy a bit. Our regular, normal energy isn’t enough when it comes to doing media interviews. In fact, when you feel like your energy level is over the top, that is usually just about right. Experiment with this by doing your own mock interviews on camera. Play with your energy level and see for yourself.
Another tip: Wait 24 hours before you review your performance, and if you can’t wait that long, watch it right after you record, and then watch it again 24 hours later. Just trust me on this.
Notice I haven’t even gotten into the first minute of the interview launch. I will save that for another time.
Making a good first impression is critical for setting the tone for the entire interview. Remember to focus on the other person, smile, and keep your energy level high. Then let me know how it goes. I’m always in your corner!
To your success!
P.S. Parts of the world are opening up again while others are still in lockdown. Because we have readers from around the world, I want to acknowledge these differences. Wherever you are in your part of the world, I’m sending you love and joy. Stopping down to get a good feeling is important. Here is one of my favorite songs for doing just that!
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