3 Ways To Avoid Being A Media Dud

I generally like to take the positive approach, but sometimes "What Not To Do" is more effective.  If you don't want to squander your "moment" in a hard-won interview on TV or radio, here are three "Don'ts" to keep in mind.  

1. Don't Ramble.  Decide the main message you want to deliver going in. Make sure what you're saying is relevant to the particular media audience watching or listening.  Have three major points worked out in advance and a variety of ways you can phrase them simply and directly. Practice smoothly transitioning from an interviewer's questions to the points you want to make in a conversational tone.

2. Don't Lecture.  Many interviews fall into the, "How did you do it?" or, "How can I do that?" category, so there's an opportunity to do some teaching.  But it's important not to give a dull and boring lecture. Resist the urge to show off your expert education and training by using arcane language, insider jargon or  highly technical details. The best communicators take complex topics and express them in an engaging way that even a 5th grader can understand.

3. Don't Preach.  Most people hate being told what to think or do and will naturally reject anyone trying to force their views on them. It's fine to have strong opinions in an interview and back them up with your expertise, but don't be tied to the outcome.  Present fascinating information, insights and stories that support your points. Then, let it go.  The host, viewers and listeners can make up their own minds.  They'll be more receptive to your ideas if they don't sense you're pushing an agenda. 

I recommend doing some mock interviews to get an outsider's perspective on whether you are rambling, lecturing or preaching.  People consuming media today have lots of choices and very short attention spans so you can lose them fast. You'll become a Media Darling, not a Dub, if your interview is so lively and interesting, the audience has no reason to channel-surf or tune-out.