Booking yourself a media interview is a nice accomplishment…but it’s just the first step to producing a great interview. Unfortunately, many focus the majority of their time on this step alone and forget the most important part of the process: Presenting yourself as a bonafide expert and a star guest (which when done properly, almost guarantees a rebooking in the future).
Robert Grigore is a leading expert in the field of psychotherapy (working with celebrities and high-profile clients) and high-impact business coaching (entrepreneurs), he has appeared in nearly 100 live and recorded interviews on TV, podcasts, and radio, as well as online magazines. He is also a 2-Time Emmy Award-Winning Television Producer, and along the way, he sharing his 5 best practices with you here.
1. Provide Your 1-Sheet to the Producer of the Show Ahead of Time
Robert cannot tell you how many times a producer or host of a show they’ve just signed on with (for virtual interviews) has been blown away by receiving a 1-Sheet at all, let alone during the booking process. This alone has helped him to secure some interviews he may not have gotten otherwise.
A 1-Sheet is a single piece of paper that sort of reads like a resume, but instead of listing all your accomplishments and strengths, it speaks to approximately 5-7 different topics you will be fluent in during the interview. This ensures that both you and the host have a safety net to return to if the interview starts to go off on a major tangent.
Your topics should be written as headlines so it not only provides the host with an idea for how to market or name the interview, but it also sparks interest for discussion during the actual interview.
Example: 5 Best Practices to Ensure Your Next Interview is Influencive. OK, here’s a few more: The Single Greatest Myth About Storytelling; The Pandemic Growth Effect and How Global Crises Actually Advance Us; 3 Secret Ingredients that Will Make Your Thai Recipe Explode with Flavour!; The #1 Problem With the Professional Development Industry That Nobody Talks About…
Can you see how these headlines are intriguing for the host as well as their audience? (For experts who want to go the extra mile, produce a 1-Sheet that is specifically tailored to the audience of the show, and always have a general one handy in a Google Folder or somewhere where you have quick access to).
2. Present with Stories (Short / Medium / Long)
It is well known that stories are the best way to communicate during an interview because our minds are programmed to remember stories easier than anything else. The typical story is the one every Hollywood movie and script follows and it’s what the audience is unconsciously expecting. The typical story is referred to as “The Hero’s Journey,” and it goes a little like this:
The audience is introduced in an empathetic or sympathetic way to the protagonist, who is generally unassuming. The protagonist is then presented with some kind of voyage, trip, or journey to take (generally literal, but sometimes metaphorical).
They are met with some kind of challenge, which is overcome, they build confidence and think they’re safe and in the clear. They reach the middle point of their journey or just a little beyond that, when they are then presented with a major problem that challenges them further than ever before.
They reach the “All Hope is Lost” moment (also called “The Dark Night of the Soul”) as they recognize the previous version of themselves is no longer adequate to meet this new challenge and since they’ve come so far they can’t go back (called “The Point of No Return”), they reach deep down, and transform themselves into a better version and defeat their opponent or overcome the challenge.
Finally, they arrive at their destination, and then the tension they were carrying absolves and the audience experiences closure (i.e. the hero gets the girl, they live happily ever after, or the girl drops the jewel to the bottom of the ocean and let’s go, or you get the idea).
It is excellent to have a few different stories about your life, business, or current offers to be able to access immediately. This doesn’t necessarily mean everything you say is canned and prepared ahead of time, but rather that it provides for a more polished presentation, and something you can always fall back on if you get stumped.
You want to have a short, medium and long version depending on the length of the interview. For TV interviews, your stories need to be no longer than 30 to 60 seconds because the interviews are generally around 2-3 minutes (unless it’s a special). For a 30 minute interview, you want to wrap up a story in less than 2 minutes, and for longer interviews or even speeches, you can go a little longer and go for 5-10 minutes.
3. Your Frame is Half the Presentation
In this day and age when ¾ of interviews are virtual, this point is more important than ever. As a professional guest, you must understand that your office (whether home or commercial) is the new set.
When a producer books you for a show, you both are putting your reputation on the line even before you open your mouth. Professional background and attire is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to a good first impression.
Think of this like going for a job interview. Would you show up in slippers, yoga pants but also a nice blouse? NO! You’d come dressed professionally to impress the heck out of your future employer. Similarly, if that future employer was coming over to your home to interview you, would you leave the dirty dishes in the sink, and your kids toys all over the floor? NO! You’d clean that S–t up!
Can you tell how passionate I am about this concept though? I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve seen other “experts” show up to an interview, YoutTube broadcast, Facebook Live, or a summit dressed in a T-shirt, and on their couch. This is incredibly unprofessional, and if this is done on an interview, you can be certain not only will you never be called back for a follow-up interview, there’s a good chance your interview will never reach their audience.
Take the time to frame your background like it’s a set. Have good lighting, maybe a couple of plants, an organized bookshelf, or at the very least, invest in a greenscreen to place behind you so you can use a virtual background without the audience watching your head disappear when you move around.
And show up dressed like you’re going to be speaking with someone who you respect a great deal. Err on the side of formal and think like a producer and you’ll be half way there before you even start!
4. Never Sell Yourself!
This is something Robert learned fairly early on, but not until after Robert listened to and critiqued his first several interviews did he realize he sounded more like a door-to-door salesman, rather than a true authority figure in my niche.
You know this one has been around for awhile – and for good reason – you have to provide loads of value to any and all audiences you are in front of. Nobody wants to be constantly pitched to (people listen to podcasts because they’re expecting a different experience from being constantly spammed on Facebook Messenger!). They listen because they want to extract a few (free) gold nuggets from an episode, and go and implement them right away.
Trust me, if you provide enough value to the ideal target audience that you’re going after, without sounding desperate for a sale (even if you are!), they will look you up and reach out to you. I’ve done exactly that many times over and even dropped thousands and thousands of dollars this way.
5. Know and Speak to the Audience Before the Host
This is really an extension of #4, and is often overlooked but extremely important by everyone regardless of where your authority is.
So often, guests will join an interview and speak only to the host, when the conversation is really for the audience. Expert guests will make a serious effort to frame their discussion as if they are actually talking to one person listening in on the show, and then reference the host from time to time instead of it being the other way around. This is a very different experience for the audience member and it provides a much more intimate experience for the listener.
Just imagine how much more impactful your empathic statements are about the audience’ pain points when you’re speaking to one person. When that one person hears the solution to that pain point, believe me, they’re all ears and they’re ready to act.
If you master these 5, you’ll be way ahead of the majority of “expert” guests. It’s time for you to shine now as the “influencive” authority that you’re meant to be.