We’ve all heard them, interviews on the radio or television where the interviewee is droning on about their latest policy or their stance on this particular issue, and the reporter or presenter has glazed over with boredom and is thinking about their next item.
You don’t want that to be you, do you?
There’s absolutely no point putting yourself up for an interview if you’re going to do nothing for your cause or your company. And being boring will do nothing for that cause.
The trick, of course, is to engage your audience – both the interviewer and those watching or listening at home.
Sounds simple, eh?
Or not. Some people have natural charisma, or just have a flair for language – for example, most people listen to what Boris Johnson says because of the way he says it, no matter what he’s talking about.
But for most of us, it’s a bit more of a struggle to come up with sparkling wit or killer phrase on the spur of the moment.
This is something we work hard on during our media training courses, and one thing we tell our trainees is that if they are going to do an interview, it’s worth having a think beforehand about what you are talking about and coming up with some ways of engaging the interest of your audience in advance.
Here are seven ways to make your answers more interesting:
1. Interesting analogies
If you have a complex issue to get across, then compare it to everyday experiences which everyone will understand and identify with it.
Using your natural wit, funny examples or telling a joke all help make you seem an approachable person and help get the audience on your side, especially if you are able to be self-deprecating
Stories – either of your customers or your own – will help bring your interview to life. This is a technique I use all the time to help explain concepts during media training sessions, and it’s just as useful during interviews with journalists.
So for example when I’m talking about how newspaper reporters make up quotes in their stories, I talk about a particular time when I did this myself.
4. Colourful language
This is especially helpful in radio interviews, when you really have to grab the listener’s attention
5. Case studies & examples
Wherever possible, don’t talk in generalities, be specific and give human examples.
So if you’re a council transport official doing an interview about travel chaos caused by snow, talk about how your team cleared a country road where an old had been trapped for three days, rather than that they cleared 95% of roads.
6. Personal experiences
Telling a story about your own life really helps to personalise your key messages.
For example, last week I did a media training session with the owner of a website. He and his brother had set up the site had been set up after his father asked them for some help, and they’d discovered there was nothing available for him.