At some point in your professional life, you may find yourself being interviewed. It’s a wonderful opportunity that puffs up your ego. Finally, someone wants to know what you think! But if you’ve never been interviewed before, you may not realize there’s a bit of preparation involved. You may also find yourself nervous when the questions start coming at you. Knowing these few things beforehand will produce better interviews that get your message across.
Focus and Personal Objective
Before starting the interview, make sure you’ve established a focus and a personal objective. The focus is the main topic of the interview. This is what the interviewer wants to present to the audience. An example might be your professional legal advice on a certain area of law.
The personal objective is what you want to get out of the interview, in addition to just helping the interviewer’s audience. You may want to show your expertise, attract new prospects to your business, or plug your new book.
Prepare Your Answers
Even if you’re not sure what the interviewer will ask, prepare several answers in advance. Try to anticipate the questions they might ask you. Write down some stock answers and practice answering them.
You should also ask the interviewer ahead of time what they’ll ask. They may give you a vague idea or preferably the actual questions so that you can prepare fully.
Have Your Bio Rehearsed
At some point during the interview, usually at the beginning, the interviewer will ask you to introduce yourself. You’ll give a quick bio telling their audience who you are in case they don’t already know. Write and rehearse this bio before the interview so that it is complete, conveys what you want people to know, and is smooth – without any “ums” or “ahs”.
Prepare Your Promo
If you’re going to promote something during the interview, have a quick plug written and rehearsed. Make it short and to the point, and remember that this isn’t the reason people are listening or reading the interview. It’s perfectly fine to be transparent, saying something like, ‘Do you mind if I just take a minute to talk about my new book?’
How NOT to Sound Rehearsed
Preparing, practicing, and rehearsing are essential, but you don’t want to come off sounding rehearsed. The last thing you want to do is bore the audience by reading off a script. Instead, relax and be yourself. Keep in mind the main points. Take a minute to think before answering each question so that you can recall those points and give a focused answer. Talk to the interviewer casually, as if they’re a friend and you’re chatting over coffee.
Clean up Your Speech Habits
Be careful not to stutter or waste time with annoying speech habits. Try to cut down as much as possible on ‘um,’ ‘I mean,’ ‘like,’ ‘you know,’ and so on. You can do this by practicing your answers and thinking before you speak. You should avoid jargon, inside-jokes and profanity, or anything that would make you look arrogant.
Do Your Homework
Before the interview, do some research on the interviewer, their format, and their audience. Check out their website or podcast and see what other guests they’ve had. Read audience comments and other feedback. The better you know all of this, the better you’ll be able to provide a good interview.