Last week we started talking about unexpected surprises when doing interviews. They are a part of life, of course, and they often happen when doing any kind of media, including interviews. If you missed it, you can read part one here.
Today we’re going to cover some more of those surprises and how you can handle them should you find yourself in a surprising media interview situation.
Surprise. You’re really nervous and it was unexpected. The key with this one is to consciously focus on the person in the audience you are there to help. There is nothing like taking the attention off yourself and putting it squarely on the person who really needs to hear what you have to say. This will take your mind off your own butterflies and instead redirect your energy toward the person who needs the information you have to share. Speak from your heart. It can make all the difference.
Surprise. Technology issues. Ugh. No one likes to even think about this, but let’s face it. We live in a world where technology is fantastic…when it works. When it doesn’t, it is a nightmare. Surprises here can abound, including having a connection that’s wobbly. Test it out beforehand particularly if you’ve been traveling and you’re not in your usual space.
If you’re going to be doing an interview online, your desktop or laptop needs to be up to date. You don’t want it to do an automatic and potentially lengthy update just before your interview. If you have bandwidth issues, see if you can get more bandwidth from your ISP. If connection problems are due to your location, then perhaps doing interviews from there is just too risky.
Remember the media outlet has a job to do and an audience to take care of. You need to be responsible too, and that means if you know your connection is bad, then wait to do any interviews until you set up something better. Or, see if you can go to a friend’s house or office.
Surprise. Your significant other just dropped a bomb on you. Sometimes it seems like they wait until the worst possible time to break up with you, share an awful piece of news, or admit to some indiscretion. This is where you get to play act. You can’t bring that into the interview with you — unless you’re a therapist and the whole show is about breakups. Then, maybe you can be the example and the timing is perfect. I once had a guy break up with me 30 minutes before I was going on the air to do afternoon drive time at the top radio station in a major market. Not fun, but I had to set all that aside until I could deal with it properly. There is a reason for the line, “The show must go on.”
Surprise. Oh, no. A cold is coming on. Drink hot tea before the interview. Take something that will dry up your sinuses. Wipe down any equipment you use before and after the interview. Afterwards, have some chicken soup and go to bed. This is your mother speaking.
If it’s an in-studio interview, you may need to cancel it. After all we have been through in recent years, missing an interview due to sickness is much more understandable now. No one else wants to get sick either.
Surprise. You don’t feel like doing an interview. That happens. It doesn’t matter. This excuse will never fly. You get to be an actor again and pretend there isn’t anywhere else you would rather be than doing this interview. Once you’re in the mindset and get started, very likely your feelings will change and you will really enjoy yourself.
In the world of media, surprises are par for the course, and how you navigate them can be just as impactful as your prepared content. So, stay agile, stay focused, and stay ready for the unexpected, for therein lies the true test of a skilled communicator. Coming up next week will be Part 3 of how to handle surprises during media interviews.
To your success!
P.S. If you want help securing media interview opportunities, let me know here.
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