Mock or Practice Interviews for Authors and Writers

Fourth of July Treats

Do you remember the first time you heard a recording of your voice? Do you remember thinking, “Oh, no! That isn’t me. It doesn’t sound anything like me!” And yet, it was you all right. It takes awhile to get used to the sound of our own voice so that we can actually hear it with some kind of objectivity.

The same goes with seeing yourself on camera. The “ick” factor loves to raise its ugly, critical voice. “I don’t look like that, do I?” Um, yes. We all look “like that.”

What we must do next is desensitize ourselves to our own sound and our appearance. Or, more accurately, we need to listen and see ourselves more often so that we become used to how we actually come across. It is only then that we can have some kind of objectivity about ourselves, and make changes or tweaks if necessary.

And, let’s face it. Cameras and microphones are everywhere now, so it’s time to embrace that if we haven’t already.

The best way to do this is via mock interviews or practice interviews. You can do them with another person or you can do them with only yourself. Simply create a list of questions about your book and topic, and either have someone else interview you, or you can hit record on Zoom or another platform, and answer your questions. Each time you do a mock interview, you have a chance to review that footage and see what you can learn from it and how you can improve.

Mock interviews can do so much for us. In addition to helping us better deliver our key messages and get control of our facial expressions and tonal quality, they help us desensitize to how we sound and how we look. It’s really tough to learn from any media interview if you’re busy burying your head in your hands saying, “I don’t like how I look!”

Practicing mock interviews will also give you a sense of confidence simply by practicing what it is you want to convey during interviews.

I have never been a fan of just “winging it” when it comes to being on camera. Now, there is room for some spontaneity, and sometimes there is a situation unfolding that you want to capture and there is no time for rehearsal, but most of the time rehearsal is necessary. If you want to do great interviews regarding your book and your work in the world, then mock interviews will serve you many times over.

What to watch for when reviewing your mock interviews

Do you look relaxed? The first thing you want to be able to do is to look and feel relaxed with the camera. When you look back at your mock interview, you might be surprised by what you see. Do you fidget? Do you lick your lips? Is your face way too expressive to the point where it looks more like a cartoon? Better to learn this now than when you land that top-tier interview you’ve been desiring so badly.

Practice looking like you feel comfortable. You may not feel this way on the inside, but you absolutely want to look like you are from the outside.

Pretend you are someone else. One of my little tricks to help this along is to imagine or pretend you are someone you respect and admire. Someone you know looks good on camera and speaks very articulately. How would they look doing this interview? Sit or stand the way they would sit or stand. Smile, laugh, pause, change your pace, be them. It’s OK. You are you, but you are borrowing their sense of confidence for a while until you can manage it on your own.

Prepare your answers in advance. You want to have already created your key messages; what is most important to say in any interview. These are the answers you then practice delivering. You do not want the first time you give your answers to be during an actual interview!

Practice. Record your responses to the questions, and then review the recording. This is where you decide what works, what doesn’t work, and then tweak your responses until they do work.

Bottom line

Everything we want to be good at takes practice. Having a coach can get you there much faster since you have another pair of eyes to help you create the best responses possible. When you are relaxed and feeling confident you will do your best work. Good luck!

To your success!


P.S. All political differences aside, this is the land of the free. Happy Fourth of July!



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