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3 Things I Learnt From Doing My First Live Radio Interview

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3 Things I Learnt From Doing My First Live Radio Interview

With the focus on podcasts and on-demand audio, traditional media like radio interviews can get overlooked. 

Times have changed, and they aren’t usually first to mind for many business owners when thinking about how they can promote awareness of their business. However, while there may be more opportunities to be interviewed on podcasts simply due to the number and variety that exist, it’s still worth adding radio to your suite of communication options.

Radio is a great way to build awareness of you and your brand because it’s easy to consume while doing something else. Many people have the radio on when driving or in the background as they go about their day. One of the other benefits of doing radio interviews is that it sharpens your public speaking skills in a less confronting way than standing in front of a crowd of people.

A few months ago, I recently did my first live radio interview on Taking Care of Business, an hour devoted to talking business on RPP FM, a local, regional station, hosted by Jacki Mitchell, a Brand Strategist.

It was a great opportunity to chat about all things marketing, but unlike being interviewed for a podcast from my own office, the interview was done in the studio, so there were lots of things to adjust to. Things like having to talk right into the microphone, the producer sitting on the other side of the desk listening and adjusting switches, wearing headphones and hearing voices through the headphones from those sitting next to me, the breaks for songs and feeling the pressure of the clock counting down when the hour was nearly over.

While there is much that I could improve on my first effort, I discovered that there are three tricks to fighting through nerves to give a radio interview:

1. Trust what you know.

Having written a book on marketing which I’d sent to Jacki before the interview I had moments where I wondered if she would ask me something from the book and whether I’d be able to remember it. Jacki assured me that she wasn’t going to ask me anything I didn’t know the answer to.  She was right. While my answers to some questions weren’t as on point as I would have liked, I did have answers and didn’t go blank in the stress of the moment.

2. Practise, practise and practise some more.

While you don’t want to sound like a trained parrot, thinking you can wing it is likely going to mean that you’ve wasted an opportunity to connect with the audience. It’s important to practise out loud, so you’re not freaked out by the red ‘on air’ light, and you get comfortable hearing yourself answer questions. Hesitations can seem amplified when all an audience has to go on is sound so it’s important to be clear about what you want to say and how you’d like to say it.

3. Breathe and smile.

This is a variation on Skipper’s mantra (remember the head penguin from the movie Madagascar?), telling his troops to, “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.” From my time attending Toastmasters I knew that deep breathing was important, especially because unlike a video interview or live presentation, all I had was my voice. I couldn’t call on gestures, PowerPoint slides or moving around the stage, so I wanted to make sure that what came out of my mouth wasn’t squeaky or too soft.

Apart from breathing to steady my voice, smiling is important too. Sales people that make a lot of phone calls know that smiling comes through in your voice, so it’s a good idea to use that to make yourself sound friendly and appealing

While there aren’t a lot of business radio shows to pitch when it comes to promoting your business, don’t miss an opportunity to be involved if you get the chance. You never know what can come from it or who might be listening.

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