“A good interview has rhythm to it, back and forth. Authors who are good at interviews answer the question I ask, not five questions at once.” My friend and colleague, Greg Bullen at WMPC Radio, is a pro at asking questions. What he wants is someone who is a pro at answering them. On the surface this may seem obvious. After all, it’s your book, your expertise, a topic you have researched or lived or talked about for years. Why shouldn’t it flow naturally?
Greg told me some of his better interviews have been with Dr. Gary Chapman and Charles Stanley. These are two men who communicate for a living so you would expect them to be interesting guests. If you do not communicate for a living, what can you do to make yourself a guest that hosts want to invite back? I have identified five key ideas that will help.
- Flow. A good interview comes across as an easy-flowing conversation. It isn’t jerky. There aren’t long pauses.
- Enthusiasm. “If you are not enthusiastic about your message, no one else is going to be enthusiastic about it either,” says Dr. Steve Brown. Enthusiasm is contagious and people know it when they see it or hear it.
- Informed. You give something of value to the audience. You know something they don’t and you share it in such a way they can grasp it, act on it, or have it change their life in some meaningful way.
- Prepared. Be on time, have your notes ready, learn what you can about the host so you can connect better. Too many authors I work with go into interviews with little or no forethought about what they want to say or how to say it.
- Share. Tell on yourself. Give your best stories to make a point. Be specific. The audience will know if you are holding out on them. Generalizations simply won’t help you get your message across.
There is something else that makes you an interesting guest for radio or television shows. You focus not just on the needs of the audience (which is important) but you also focus on the host. I know of few people who do this better than Cec Murphey who has written more than 100 books and done countless interviews. He always follows up with a thank you note. He is gracious and humble and that’s not a quality that can be contrived.
Finally, I would add one more item to the list. An interesting guest is a relevant guest. They are always looking for connecting points in conversation or in links to the news. So before you go on an interview, think about how your topic relates to what’s happening in the news. How can you create a viable segue from the topic of your book? Interviewers eat this up because it makes them look like they planned having you on at just the right time.