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The Art of an Effective Radio Interview

Marsha Friedman of EMSI PR firm's PR Insider newsletter--gives 3 Tips for Making Your Interview Shine
  • Beware of trendy "crutch" words. For too many years, "like" was, like, the No. 1 favorite fall-back word. Before that, it was "y' know" - y' know? "Cool!" has remained a favorite for decades because it can convey agreement, happiness, or the fact that you just can't think of anything better to say. The newest crutch I've been hearing is "actually." I actually heard a recent interview in which a college student talked about actually going to Syria to help people who were actually starving. We're all guilty of using crutch words from time to time, and using any just once in a conversation or interview is fine. But they tend to be like potato chips. Record yourself telling a story and play it back to listen for repetitive crutch words, or ask a friend to critique you. Then practice excising them from your vocabulary.
  • Don't back into your interview - start strong! Some people take a little time to get warmed up. Others think the audience will stick with them longer if they build up suspense, as in "I have something really important to tell you and if you hang in there, you're going to be amazed!" I say jump right in and get right to the heart of your message. There are a few of reasons for that. (1)Your interview may get cut short if you're not entertaining and informative. (2) It makes a good first impression and builds momentum for the rest of your interview. 
  • Use sound bites. Sound bites have gotten a bad rap; they're associated with being shallow and insincere. But in truth, they're very helpful. While listeners may not be able to immediately recall everything you say, your sound bites are likely to stick - which will help people remember some of the details. Good sound bites are nuggets of compressed information stated in a fresh, memorable way. One of my favorite celebrities, Muhammed Ali, is known for great sound bites, including, "I outwit them and then I out-hit them." Prepare some ahead of time and have them written down in front of you when you're interviewed.
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