Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tips for Performing Best Selling Interviews

            As a former morning radio show host, when interviewing guests, some made it so difficult it was like pulling teeth to get them to relax and elaborate a little more on their answers.  I understand that it is not customary for an author to be trained in presentation skills but, here is a big hint!

If you want your book to be a best-selling author,
you have to be best at selling your book!

            Can you remember a time you watched someone on television and their articulation and presence was so bad that you changed the channel? They were not prepared for the interview. They did not research the style of the interviewer or the show format. They did not put on their excitement before stepping on stage.
                      There is a very profound comment in the industry about the job of a media professional that sums things up very well: "I am not here to provide a free service to the author. I am here to offer an entertaining and compelling story to my audience."
            Media in its various formats are a valuable source to anyone selling a product or service. Media and good publicity go hand in hand and serve the promoter (i.e. author) in many ways:
·         Spotlights person, product or issue
·         Reaches people beyond ordinary circles
·         Creates identity
·         Generated resources
·         Give you an audience to persuade to action

            Many authors shy away from broadcast interviews which takes them out of their comfort zone. They offer one-word interview responses and as a result their nervousness is evident and they leave the interviewer struggling to conduct an entertaining and informative interview.
            To help you get comfortable I share with your some tips.      The key to a best-selling interview is to be interesting, informative and fun. It is the host’s responsibility to deliver an entertaining thirty minutes or hours worth of material to their audience. Television producers and hosts do not book authors, per se. They book interesting individuals who happen to have either written a book.
            Because attention spans are short guests who are dull and uninteresting can cost the network to lose ratings. Broadcast personnel strive to build relationships with their guests. They are banking on dependability, entertainment value and interest level. It is a business. The media company paid for the right to be on the air and sells advertising and airtime to recoup their investment and pay the bills.
             Practice IS necessary! So to help you prepare for your best selling interview, here are 20 steps to help you be a success:
1.    It is always wise to read a few editions of the publications and articles by the interviewer, or watch/listen to the show. Understand the type of interviews they publish or produce and get familiar with their journalistic style.
2.    Know the culture and format of the show and make sure your dress/appearance matches (i.e. casual or formal).
3.    Inquire as to the audience demographics so you’ll understand who is listening and how you can tailor the interview to them.
4.    Prepare a short introduction of yourself for the interviewer.
5.    Create your elevator speech; a well-prepared, 15-second statement or pitch that sums up your book concisely and impacts fully.
6.    Create a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) that clearly explains the book’s topic/story and personal information about you as the author. This will be very helpful to interviewers. They are very busy and may not have the opportunity to read your book prior to you appearing on the show.
7.    Rehearse your responses and listen for ease of delivery. Practice your answers in “sound-bites” - a 10, 20 or 30 second response. Time yourself with an online stop watch at
8.    Check your voice volume and inflection. Enunciate clearly and speak with confidence and enthusiasm. This is when practice will be evident. Learn to place emphasis on words for dramatics and emotion.
9.    Dress appropriately and maintain good posture. Be comfortable. Wear an outfit that does not take attention away from you or the topic. Ladies should make sure skirts are not too short, pants are not too tight or your jewelry is not too big or busy. No fussy, uncomfortable clothes that make you tug and fidgety.
10. Ladies check your make up. It may be necessary to apply a little more make-up than usual. With the New HD (high definition) television and lighting, your coloring and face may appear flat for it tends to remove facial definition.
11. Guys use a little powder on the shiny parts of the head and face. Or use blotting tissues to keep the shine to a minimum.
12. The studio lights can also get a bit warm and may cause you to appear a little shiny or cause you to perspire. Blot your face prior to the interview to ensure a cool, calm appearance. Do not use regular tissues or toilet paper which may leave tiny pieces stuck to your face. Invest in facial blotting tissues or sponge.
13. Try to look and appear very natural. While you are being introduced, look at the interviewer. Or if they direct you to a camera look in that direction. Focus on your conversation with the interviewer and let the trained camera operators catch close-ups.
14. Stay focused on the topic.  One rule to remember is that anything you say can haunt you for the rest of your life. Even when the camera or recorder is off. Off the record is not necessarily off the record.
15. Be lively and entertaining, but professional. Use vivid descriptions of characters and scenes from your book. Invite the audience to take action, which is to buy your book.
16. If it is a telephone or remote camera interview, smile and visualize your audience. Project an enthusiastic personality and image with your voice. Project a great personality through the radio waves
17. If you are asked a question that does not relate to your book, or asked your opinion of another author, simply say, “I am not sure.” Or tell them that you not familiar with that and gracefully change the subject back to your topic
18. If you are asked a question that embarrasses you (like a scandal) simply phrase the question differently to give yourself some time and answer it with tact and grace. It takes a little time to get build up some resistance to the shock, but soon, experiences like these roll off the backs of seasoned guests
19. When sharing your personal story, make it of human interest. Tell a successful, interesting, clever or humorous story about yourself. Think of a story to which the audience can relate.
20. Make sure you plug your Web site, blog, upcoming events, appearances and where to purchase your product

            At the end of the interview, (if print) ask if contact information can be included in the article and find out how you can get a copy for your records. Just in case you are not offered a copy, or they site legal reasons record every interview or speaking engagement for future use. Above all, be yourself and allow your personality to come through. Do not put the interviewer on a pedestal or climb up on one yourself. And last but not least, show appreciation for the opportunity you are given. Let the interviewer know you appreciate their time by sending a thank you note.
            And with that, I thank you for the opportunity to share these ideas with you and wish you much success.

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