Can you be TOO prepared for a media interview?
One of the pitfalls that people fall into when preparing for media interviews (radio/telly/blogs/newspapers/magazines) is, believe it or not being TOO prepared!!!
By this I mean having a rehearsed spiel that you have gone over and over and over, that you know off by heart and that you basically RECITE at the media whenever you get a chance.
Politicians are ESPECIALLY good at this.
But all kinds of people do it.
You may have been around the circuit many, many times with the same story. Perhaps you have written a book, and you have talked about your book so much that you have developed a standard ‘story’ that you tell about it.
Celebrities are often guilty of this.
Bob Geldof is one of my all-time favourite people, but he definitely did it when I interviewed him for Vogue….I turned on the tape recorder and he started his speech, and barely stopped to draw breath. When I read some other interviews that he had done on the same topic (Africa) I noticed that he was telling everyone the same stuff.
Paolo Coelho also did it, when I interviewed him (I was disappointed!)
The other day, I interviewed another well known writer (who shall remain nameless for now) and I felt that he was trying to do the same thing, just trying to tell me the prepared speech, telling me everything that was in the book.
When this happens, I work very hard at throwing in some questions that would surprise the person and force them to give me something new, something people have not heard before. That is my job, I love doing it. But it is SO MUCH BETTER when the person that I am interviewing is willing to have a CONVERSATION with me, willing to just have a chat and let something interesting emerge.
Yes, you have an agenda (you want to sell your product) but remember that we in the media also have an agenda (we want to give our audience something that they will enjoy and remember) And our audience have an agenda too! They want to enjoy the experience of reading/watching/listening and they want to learn something that will enhance their lives.
So if you can strike the right balance of being fun to be with and at the same time, educating and informing people in a way that makes them happy, you are on a winner! So just remember that nobody wants to hear a lecture, nobody wants a rehearsed speech, we all want a conversation!