Stop The Verbal Vomiting

Strategically Speaking: A Blog by Denha Media Group

After I premised the topic and introduced the guest, I started the interview on my public affairs show with, “Tell me about this event.” The guest on the other end of the line proceeded not only to tell me about the upcoming community event, but also about the history of the organization, the people they help, the money they have raised and all of their future events. Ten minutes into the interview, I began to think of the listeners flipping the station.

He was verbally vomiting all over my show.

I asked the first question and he answered about six in that 10-minute span. He barely took a breath and, in order for me to ask a second question and take back the show, I had to interrupt him. He was obviously knowledgeable about his topic, but he was ignorant when it came to being interviewed.

Most people need media training before they do any interviews, especially live broadcast shows — TV or radio.

The two equally frustrating guests for any host are the one who gives little information and the one who gives way too much. A bad interview will almost guarantee the producer or reporter will never schedule you as a guest or call you as an expert source.

You want to communicate with confidence, creatively and while being concise. Here are some simple tips to avoid spewing out your message:

  1. You should give around 60-second answers to each question. If you want to include a story to drive that message, keep it short.
  2. Practice answering every question you think the host or reporter might ask and record your answers so you can listen back.
  3. Have a friend or colleague interview you first using a recorder.
  4. Write out answers, but do NOT read answers. Only write to get your thoughts on paper. When you answer the questions during the interview, it should sound like a conversation, not a rehearsed show.
  5. Know everything about the company, program, event, etc. that you are promoting. Dead air is not an option. Come to the interview with more information than you think you will need.

Vanessa Denha Garmo is founder of Denha Media Group

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