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VIEWPOINT: TV and radio interview tips

Your moment has arrived and you’ve been invited as an expert guest onfor television or radio. Below is a list of tips to help you uplift your brand and spread your message.

Common to both radio and television interviews

Relax and focus on having a conversation with your interviewer. Forget that there are many people listening to you. Answer the question that you are asked and not the one that you were expecting to be asked.

When you speak, use simple words that are free of jargon, acronyms or technical terminology. Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book, product or service. Make a mental note of the interviewer’s name and make sure that you use it throughout the interview.

Practise the response to the questions before your interview. Know your time allocation, which can be anything from 30 seconds to three minutes and more. Tailor your answers to the allotted time. Try not to over think your response – do frame your response and answer quickly to give the impression that you are honest and sincere. Avoid answering by saying ‘That is a good question’. This wastes time – get straight to the answer.

If the interviewer has made a mistake with your name or your product, don’t correct them directly. Instead, include in your next statement the correct pronunciation or use of terminology.

Conduct some research on the show and the interviewer. Determine if you are speaking to a local or national audience. Find out about the different formats that the show will be using – such as live streaming. Tailor your message accordingly.

Speak with enthusiasm and energy. Smile: this softens your facial expressions and makes you sound more relatable.

Specific to television interviews

Wear simple, plain colours. Avoid wearing excessive jewellery and distracting clothing like pin stripes, or checked and fancy patterns. Make sure that you conduct a full top-to-toe analysis to ensure that everything from your hair to your polished shoes isare in place – you never know which camera angle will be used. The camera lights make you look lighter and make-up assists in adjusting your look to more of your natural tone – so do wear make-up.

Specific to radio interviews

Radio interviews require verbal responses. Avoid nodding your head or using hand gestures. Have water on hand if you need to sip on it between your questions. Use the ‘cough’ button if needed. Once you are in front of a microphone you may be recorded at any time. Stay focused on the interviewer to start the interview. Before your interview, ask the producer for a copy of your radio interview – you can be provided with this on your way out.


  • Arrive early. This helps to orientate you with your surroundings and the protocols.
  • Remember you are the expert. This is your topic, so be confident in your ability.
  • Have respect. Never talk down to the audience or a caller-in – you have a personal brand to protect.
  • Avoid overselling but provide useful information. Re-read the release or pitch that got you the booking, since the host will use that as a starting point.
  • Write a thank-you note to the interviewer. Few people do this, so you will stand out if you do!

Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) Business Owner and Public Speaking Trainer