This September, I learnt a lot about dealing with the press. In a short space of time, I went from having never spoken on the radio in my life, to getting random calls from the BBC. Sure, it may have been my five minutes of fame, but I’m so glad I was prepared for it. Here are my top 3 tips on talking about your adventure on the radio.
1. Have an Elevator Pitch
Maybe you’ve heard of these in a business/start-up context? (If not, drop it into your favourite search engine…) The first question you’ll be asked is to introduce yourself. The radio host will give you a bit of preamble but there’s only so much they can do. The audience want to hear it from you.
You need a short and succinct explanation of who you are, what the adventure is and why you’re doing it. Don’t go into too much detail – there’s time for that later.
This “elevator pitch” might not come out polished the first time you say it – that’s ok. But ti’s important to get it clear in your mind. That way, when the radio host asks you to introduce yourself and your adventure you don’t go, “Errrrrrrrrrrr…..”
Practice on your friends – or just about anyone who asks you what this crazy adventure you’re going on is about. The more times you try to explain it, them more you’ll refine it and the easier it’ll come out of your mouth!
Tip: don’t use notes for live radio. It’s supposed to be a chat and you’ll sound really odd if you’re reading from a script.
2. Don’t Talk Over the Radio Host
On my first pre-adventure radio interview, I was so nervous I started talking as soon as I came on air. I’d also had to get up extra early for the slot, when all I wanted on the morning of the big adventure was to have a little more sleep.
Unfortunately, the radio host had only meant to pause and started talking again too! We both talked on top of eachother for a few seconds before we untangled ourselves. It was very embarrassing.
Even though it feels like a phone call (assuming you’re not live in the studio) the pace is much slower. Think of it as an incredibly polite phone call! It’s ok – even good – to pause and think and give measured answers.
Tip: Wait until you’re prompted by the host to talk or answer a question.
3. Expect Completely Left of Field Questions
Don’t expect to be asked completely on topic questions whilst you’re on the radio. It is not a job interview. I’ve been talking about my adventure one minute and then asked about my email signature the next! I was baffled to say the least.
Once, whilst having a radio interview from a tent in the middle of nowhere, I was asked if I was going to be watching the new episode of Doctor Who on Sunday. Having spent almost 2 weeks in isolation from the world, I had no idea it was even on – let alone when, or why I was being asked about it!
My best advice is to be genuine, laugh it off if appropriate and try to steer back to the adventure. Our conversation went something like:
Host: “Are you going to be watching Doctor Who?”
Host: Explains that Doctor Who is on and tenuous link to girl power. “Are you going to watch it?”
Me: “Sorry, Gordon, I don’t watch Doctor Who.”
Host: Carries on as if it’s really important for me to watch it.
Me (laughing): “Okay, if you say so Gordon.”
End of conversation, moving swiftly back to the reason I’m in this tent…
Hope that helps! What did you find most useful? If you’ve been interviewed on radio before, please share your stories below!