Interviewalley's Blog

February 17, 2010

Think Before You Speak

Filed under: Uncategorized — interviewalley @ 9:46 pm

When participating in an Interview, make sure you know what you’re going to say.  This doesn’t mean that you ask the Interviewer for a list of questions.  It doesn’t mean that you prepare your answers ahead of time.  It doesn’t mean that you read from a prepared script written down ahead of time.

When an individual gives an interview, there are certain steps that one must follows for that Interview’s success.

1.  Be Prepared.  That means think about what you might discuss and how you’re going to answer that particular question.  Will you use a story and make it relatable to the Interviewer and the audience?  Will you tell a funny joke or story that will introduce you to the Interviewer and the audience so they’ll know what to expect.  Will you use 3 by 5 cards and study them before opening your mouth and speaking.

Being Prepared means all of those things plus the fact that you’ll think about what you’re going to say before saying it.  In an audio or telephone interview, what you say can’t be taken back.  The damage is done.  Make sure that your language remains clean.  No curse words.  No cheap shots.  No racial remarks or slurs.  No allusions to someone and their subsequent faux pas.  The interview is about you and your activities.  Keep it that way.

2.  Practice.  Many guests who I interview on the radio station tell me they’ve never been interviewed before.  What should they do?  Practice makes perfect.  Ever hear of that one?  It’s been with our culture for time immemorial.  Practice what you’re going to say.  Not the exact words every time.  Believe me, your audience will know whether you’re talking off the cuff or reading from a prepared script.  The audience won’t stick around and listen to the rest of the interview.  If they want you to read from a prepared script, then you wouldn’t be doing an Interview.  An interview, by definition, is an exchange of information between two people.

3.  Listen to how your speak.  Does your voice rise at the end of the sentence.  Listen to how teenagers talk.  They answer with a statement that ends in a question mark.  Don’t do that.  Make a statement a statement.  You might want to preface it.  For example:  According to my previous business experiences, Statistics show that _____ fill in the blank or According to research by Dr. Blah Blah, they discovered.  And, off you go.  Make sure that your voice tone remains even.  Emotions rule the day.  The audience will know whether you’re speaking in anger, jest, disgust, prejudice, hate.  It’s in there.  Your voice tone will tell the audience exactly what you’re feeling so Interviewee beware.

This also applies to Interviewers who are asking you the questions.  Listen to their tonal pitch.  What are they telling you?  Are they bored?  Are they on the attack?  Are they biasing the audience against you because what you say they don’t want to hear. 

Let’s go back to Sarah Palin’s interviews.  Did you stick around and listen to the entire interview?  As you listened, what kind of emotions did Ms. Palin display.  What kinds of emotions was her Interviewer displaying as well.  Did you feel comfortable listening to either one of them.  Were you motivated to sit through additional media interviews with Ms. Palin?  If you did, think about why you did.  If you didn’t, think about why you didn’t, and then be honest with yourself. 

Your voice tones are your body language to the audience and to the Interviewer.  The tone tells them what’s going on inside of you and your head.

4.  Make sure your answers are organized.  Remember in grade school how you were taught how to set up a written topic?  Introduction – Body – Ending.  The Body was supported with stats, quotes, and other material supporting your statements about that particular subject. 

An Interview should do the same thing.  When an Interviewer first asks you a question, they’re putting you at ease.  What I call, a get comfortable question.  It doesn’t strain you to answer it.  It’s usually about the weather, pets, kids, spouses, easy things like that to set the mood of the Interview.  The next few questions takes the Interviewee from ease to more specific and detailed answers about their experise, passion, gift, talent, whatever they’re being interviewed for or about.  The ending of the Interview is usually wrapped up by the Interviewer asking for contact information, brag rights, or other information that the audience needs to know in case they want to contact you.

Make sure that whatever kind of interview you’re going to have or participate in that you have this type of organized game plan.  It will prevent you from doing foolish things like Ms. Winfrey did during an interview she had with a NFL footplayer player.  It will prevent you from saying something that you didn’t mean to say.  In many of my Interviews when the guest has disclosed information not meant for the interview, they tell me later that I put them at ease and make them so comfortable that they forget where they are, who they are talking to, and who is listening.

Make sure that you never forget where you are, what you’re saying, and whom is listening.  The consequences of forgetting is often deadly to your reputation, another invitation for coming back for a second interview or the audience going out and buying your products, books, or services.

Always, copnnect your brain to your lips.  Always, plan out what you think you’ll say during that interview.  There are no second chances.  Even an edit won’t save you.  Most radio interviews are done live.  Phone interviews may be pre-recorded, but you still must do a live recording to get that pre-recording.

Remember, he/she who thinks before they speak will often get asked back to speak some more!


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