Have you ever cringed when listening to a media interview? Chances are the interviewee was making one of these nine mistakes. If you’re being interviewed, remember these mistakes and try to avoid them where possible.
1. Too much waffle
Waffling refers to rambling on without purpose, and it usually happens when you’re nervous or unprepared. To stay on track, have some notes jotted down. Also, keep asking, “What is my main point?” For example, if I’m being interviewed about soloists, I might have four key points:
- They’re a growing community
- They need to be supported
- They’re a huge part of the economy
- They’re all Rock Gods
Keep bringing these points back into the conversation.
2. You’re not being yourself
If you try to impress the interviewer by being someone you’re not, it’s uncomfortably obvious. Just take a deep breath, relax, and have an authentic conversation. When you’re the real you, you’ll make a real connection.
3. You’re being overly serious
If, like me, you have a playful personality, then let this shine through and have some fun. Interviews don’t have to be super serious, unless it’s a serious topic.
4. You promote your business too much
Unless requested, journalists don’t want advertisements in their answers, and neither does the audience. But, you can still gently promote yourself by subtly weaving an example into your answer.
“I’m a keynote speaker.”
“You know, interestingly enough, the last time I was talking at a conference, this issue was raised…”.
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5. You’re unprepared
If you’re unprepared you’re more likely to be nervous and come across as unprofessional. Always be as prepared as possible.
6. You don’t answer the question
Another common mistake is that people don’t really answer the question because they’re not really listening. Make a point of answering the question directly. Don’t answer like a politician!
7. You lack conviction
If you stand for something, your sense of conviction makes the interview more engaging and interesting.
For example, I could say, “I strongly believe that soloists need to take advantage of nedia opportunities in order to boost their profile and become persons of authority in their industry.” Conviction makes for a compelling interview.
8. You sound distracted
If you’re distracted, it’s noticeable, and your audience will switch off too. Stay focussed and you’ll stay engaging.
9. Inappropriate answer length
When you’re being interviewed, maintain a natural conversational flow so that your answers aren’t too long or too short. Think of it this way, if you were having a coffee with a friend, would you answer with clipped one word answers or long Shakespearean monologues? Unlikely, so avoid this in an interview as well.
It’s normal to make mistakes especially when you’re first starting out, but the more interviews you do, the better you’ll become. Go for it!
What are your media interview tips? Have you ever seen or heard these mistakes in action?