But when the recording actually happened, I was surprisingly at ease and able to enjoy it. Some of the things I did to prepare helped a lot, and I wanted to share them with you. Many on the following list fall under the category “Free your mind to focus on the interview itself.”
1. Read–and read again–any and all instructions the interviewer sends you, even if you are a seasoned Skype user. The interviewer may have particular settings for Skype and for your computer that you should use to achieve the best recording. And I was told to use headphones with a built-in microphone.
2. Practice what you want to say. My interviewer asked me to compose questions and send them way ahead of the date, so I was able to prepare my answers in advance too. (I didn’t send my answers.) Even if you don’t know everything that will be asked, have some short, flexible statements ready that can jump-start any number of answers and get you rolling. That way, you’re not left with dead air space. (My interviewer said they do not edit.) I don’t suggest memorizing or reading entire answers because then you won’t sound natural.
3. Prepare your interior. You need to be in a comfortable space closed off as much as possible from the rest of the world. Put your cell phone on vibrate and turn off or disconnect your land line. I was fortunate in that my interview occurred after dark, when children don’t normally play outside my window. If the interview had been during a noisy time of day, I would have hung a blanket over the window for better insulation.
4. Prepare yourself. Don’t try to do the interview if you’re hungry or have a headache. Make yourself feel comfortable. Have water handy. I had mints ready in case I got a tickle in my throat.
5. Prepare your household’s inhabitants. If you have family members or pets who need care or feeding before, during, or right after the interview, it may be best to get that done before the interview. If another member of the household can take responsibility for any of that, all the better.
6. Don’t use video if you can help it. Deselect or deactivate your computer’s video camera. (I’m on a Mac, so I don’t know what that’s called on a PC.) My interviewer was not interested in seeing my live image, for which I was grateful. The last thing I wanted was to be distracted with concern about how I looked rather than how I sounded.
Has this post illuminated anything for you about radio interviews? Have you been interviewed on radio and have a tip or two to share?