Whether we believe it or not, we are all experts in one subject or another — be it in our profession or in the hobbies we partake in outside of work. Talking about the things we are experts in can be easy in a casual setting — we’ve all had 30-minute or even hour long conversations about the things we are passionate about! But, in the case of those that become thought leaders and are now expected to speak about their expertise online or with the press, the pressure can be daunting.
Whether this is your first media interview and you are tasked with speaking about a trending topic, or you have been interviewing for a while and now have to shift gears in the virtual world, here are my top tips for interview success:
1. Familiarize, DON’T memorize
When prepping for an interview, it may seem like a no brainer to memorize your company mission, vision or even the talking points you’ve prepared. If it’s burned in your brain what could possibly go wrong? Research says you could actually forget what you memorized. Everyone’s brain reacts to stressors differently — some people may remember every last detail while stressed while others may not be able to recall their name. You don’t want an interview to be the place where you find out if you’re in the latter camp. When going in to speak about your expertise, familiarize but don’t memorize. Remember the key words, concepts or bullets you want to focus on throughout and recall them in the most organic way possible throughout the interview.
2. You’re probably overthinking it
Humans have a tendency to overthink when they are in a situation that can induce anxiety. It’s normal to be a little bit nervous, but it shouldn’t feel like an interview is the end of the world. Take a deep breath and remember that you are the expert, otherwise the journalist, podcast host, TV producer, etc. wouldn’t have asked to have you on their show. You have a wealth of knowledge that can be shared, and you have to trust that the interviewer will steer you in the right direction.
3. Smile, you’re on camera
The simplest tip is the one that is actually the most difficult for a lot of interviewees — you have to remember to smile. When prepping for an interview, you can get bogged down by the details — what are the talking points? Who is the host again? But smiling can actually boost your mood and help get rid of some of those nerves. It will also make you sound engaged and lively which in turn can energize the host and keep the audience listening.
4. Less is more
Interviews are the time to speak in bullets. Oftentimes, hosts are looking for “soundbites,” or, snippets of the conversation they can use to promote the show and highlight your expertise. It’s usually best to get to the point first and elaborate after so that the audience knows that the anecdote you are about to go into serves to support your initial point — this also helps keep people engaged. The host will usually steer the conversation in a way in which you will get to elaborate further by using leading questions so don’t feel like you won’t get all of your thoughts in.
5. Even when it’s over, it’s not
When the interview is over, it’s not really over. It is always great practice to establish genuine rapport with the interviewer — follow them on social media, tweet or post on LinkedIn about your experience and make sure to tag them! And once the interview goes live make sure to include that on your press page (and if you don’t have one, make one) and promptly share on social media.
Interviewing is a great way to build credibility and develop authority by association. By constantly having engaging conversations that bring value to the interviewers and their audiences, you will be seen as a thought leader in your industry.