How to come across well in a radio interview

Doing a spot on local or even national radio can terrify the pants off people, but in all honesty it shouldn’t. Radio is lovely; it’s relaxed, low-pressure and very friendly. There’s none of the hustle and bustle of television with its harsh lights and aggressive-looking equipment.

It’s all very low key and informal; one time when I was interviewed about one of my books at a station in south-west England I ended up boiling the kettle and making tea for everyone while I was waiting to go on the show.

So if you get asked to go on a radio show and be interviewed, or participate in a discussion or phone-in about your business or hobby, do it. Not only is it good publicity, but also it’s good fun.

And although strictly speaking there’s no writing involved here for you, it’s a good idea to be aware of the basics and write down key points you want to make, so you can glance down at your notes if you need to.

My first piece of advice is, RELAX.

Forget about the microphones. Forget about the headphones – you don’t have to wear them unless you want to. Just talk to the interviewer as if s/he were a friend you’re having a chat with over a latte.

Look him/her in the eye – these people are trained to encourage interviewees visually with nods and smiles, so it will be easy to connect with him/her. When you do, that will come over in your voice and what you say.

A small technical point…

Try if you can to avoid talking over the presenter/interviewer and anyone else on the show. In normal conversation we often do this, usually just by saying a word or two in agreement (or disagreement) with another person. However on radio more than one voice speaking at a time comes across as very messy and hard to hear. If you’re asked a question, wait until the speaker stops before you say anything, and when you’ve finished end your statement very clearly by shutting up!

Promoting a business – or not?

Another piece of advice is, if you’re being interviewed in connection with anything to do with your business, forget giving them a description of what you DO. What a radio audience (and any prospective clients out there) are interested in … the only thing they’re interested in … is what you could DO FOR THEM.

Let’s say you’re a Virtual Assistant, and you’re given the opportunity to describe your work briefly on the show.

Think what are the main benefits a client gets from using your VA service? When you work for someone, what differences does that make to their lives? More quality time with their kids? More time to concentrate on their own skillset? More time to get out and sell, so increasing profits? Do you free people up so they can do more of what they’re really good at? Do handle the quantity, so they can get going with more quality?

In, say, a 45 second slot, aim for a statement of about 70 words. Don’t try to be slick or overly clever; just be sincere. Write out what you want to say, memorize it, then put the piece of paper away. When you do your interview, remember the gist of that message and say it naturally in your own words.

And above all else, enjoy it!

How to really sparkle when you’re speaking:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours




  1. Jane Hatton says

    Typical – I’ve only just seen this post, having done three radio interviews in the last few weeks! Still, it’s great advice for the next one ….


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    Radio interviews: useful for you and your business…

    Radio interviews can seem intimidating but according to expert writer and scriptwriter Suzan St Maur, they’re an easy, relaxed way to get your message over. Here’s how to handle them skilfully – and enjoy them!…