The nerves knock you around, doubts double the intensity and when the ‘ON AIR’ light goes on you are probably thinking the whole world is listening. And they are. Well at least your whole world.
The opportunity to be interviewed in the media is the ’15 minutes of fame’ that projects you into the car speakers and lounge rooms of everyone you know. In a suburban radio station you are sitting patiently, waiting. In front of you there is a huge mic with that ‘circle mesh thing’ taking up your whole face, there are large screens obstructing your view and a massive panel of knobs that the presenter slides up and down as you count to 10, you can’t help but blurt out, ‘test test’. Bolt upright, you sit suddenly forgetting the entire conversation you were rehearsing in the hours beforehand. Your core message is blurry, the story you want to tell feels insignificant but you are so excited you can’t sit still.
So what I’d like to share with you are some strategies to help you prepare for what can often be defining moment in your own history.
Don’t Think Too Much Beforehand: you already know your stuff and you have been asked because you were naturally able to express exactly what you wanted to say to someone who wants to share your message. You got this!
Jot Down Some Notes: Three key points is more than enough and it will help you stay on track when you are in conversation.
Breathe: Before answering questions take a deep (silent) breathe, because the sigh is easily picked up by the mic. Take this moment to think about the question, gather your thoughts and allow the mind to connect to your heart and deliver your message with passion and purpose.
Look At The Presenter, regardless: They may be busy checking screens, knobs and levels so stay focused on sharing your message with them in this intimate setting like you were the only two talking and listening. Imagine the person you really want to share this message with and say what you want to say to them. Radio is an intimate experience and it’s why podcasting is growing so fast, it really feels like the person inside the speaker is talking to you or you are listening to a conversation with your ear to the slightly ajar door.
Sit Still and Stay Calm: If you are an animator who swings your hands and arms around when you talk, be conscious to the sounds this makes when you slap fingers on the desk. The microphone picks up the thuds, a squeaky chair, the rustling of papers and your breathe. The natural sounds of your environment are fine but some noises are distracting from the message you are sending. Give yourself permission to terminate any interview that makes you feel uncomfortable, ask the presenter to repeat a question (prerecords can be edited), or decline to answer if you don’t think it’s appropriate. Stay calm.
Finally, Take In This Moment: if you are not a regular presenting in the media, the experience can be a big deal and gives you a huge boost of confidence when you listen back and hear that you actually sound like you know what you are talking about. I am still amazed when people tell me they don’t remember our conversation on air and when they listen back they are able to acknowledged the beauty of the content they created.
Great Presenters make you feel comfortable, just you and them, sharing a intimate moment in conversation that exchanges real value, rich content, deep insights and amazing experiences that have created the person you are today. Radio is the medium, presenters are the message gate keepers, you are the messenger with a story to share.