Being Interviewed

This month’s question:

“I am excited about being interviewed for a local news show. What advice can you offer so that I present my best image on camera?”

Response from the editors:

Being interviewed can be a fun and rewarding experience—or, if you don’t prepare properly, it can border on the painful. Follow these tips to ensure that you shine when the spotlight is on you:

  • Stay focused on the message you feel is critical to communicate to the media and to your audience.
  • Provide short, concise answers. Limit your responses to 10-15 words. Speak in complete sentences and stop once you have made your point. You will lose your audience if you ramble.
  • Avoid humor. Not everyone in your audience will share your sense of humor—and you may offend some with your jokes.
  • Don’t interrupt. Allow your interviewer to finish his or her question before you start to respond.
  • Recommend questions to your interviewer. Provide a few sample questions before the interview. That way you ensure that you cover the topics near and dear to you.
  • Assume the camera is on at all times. Don’t say or do anything that you would not want to show up on TV or over the radio.
  • Relax and show your sincerity. Your audience will be more receptive to you if you seem calm and comfortable. Share personal stories to convey your human side and to relate to your audience.
  • Close with a purpose. Chances are good that your interviewer will ask “Is there anything else you want to add?” Summarize your key points to reinforce your message to the audience.

Need advice on how to wow your audience with your next presentation or speech? Send your questions to Katie May, managing editor, at

November’s Poll Results:

In last month’s poll, we asked “When you give a speech, what’s the one thing you are most thankful for?” and 83% of you answered “An attentive audience.”

Grab your audience’s attention with this quick tip:

Authors use “picture power” to engage their readers. With lines like “It was a dark and stormy night,” the author plants a vivid picture in the readers’ minds and captures their imaginations. The readers’ mental vision of “a dark and stormy night” visually reinforces the storyteller’s words.

Apply the same technique when crafting your next speech. Example: To persuade your audience members to choose between two options, paint a verbal picture for them. “Imagine yourself behind the wheel of your car. You’ve just pulled up to a fork in the road. To one side you find …” Then frame the alternatives. By creating the “crossroads” image in their minds, you’ve harnessed your listeners’ imaginations and prompted them to make a decision.

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Delivered each month, American Speaker Forum offers you public-speaking advice and tips for wowing your audience during your next presentation. This resource also offers you a way to ask for feedback on your next speaking engagement and to share your own experience with your colleagues.

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