When the time comes for you to sit in the “hot seat” and appear as a radio program guest, it can be scary and overwhelming. Whether you are appearing on a local program in order to promote a product, service or cause – or if you have been asked to speak as an “expert” on a program for some reason, there are some basic steps that can make your participation more successful. Whether appearing “in person” in the studio or doing a telephone call-in interview, here are some things to keep in mind in order to make the most of the experience (and in order to shape yourself into a great guest):
Develop a script, notes and/or talking points-you may think that you prepared and that you know the information so well you do not need notes or a script, but the pressure and excitement of the situation can throw you off. Remember that this is radio, not television, so no one will be able to see your note cards or cheat sheets. Write down key information that you want to be sure to convey and any contact information, web sites, etc. so that you will have those details ready as well.
Ask for the questions in advance-there is nothing wrong with asking for the questions and a script for the program in advance. As a matter of fact, it is professional and expected. While the program may not unfold exactly as it is written, chances are it will be fairly close. Ask to see a copy of the script or a list of questions, as well as a list of the other guests and the topics they will cover. If you are part of a panel discussion or debate, you will want to know exactly what you are getting into in advance.
Make sure you know names, pronunciations and titled-be sure that you know the host(s) name and how it is pronounced-as well as those of the other guests. It is perfectly fine to ask for all this information in advance just in case there isn’t time to go over it before the program begins. Feel free to write it down and keep it with your notes. You will come across so much better if you are calling people by the correct names and pronouncing them correctly!
Remember your manners-be sure to use good manners such as saying “thank you” and “excuse me” when you are trying to interject into a conversation. You can still be an expert and a strong speaker and use manners. Remember that people cannot see you so they don’t see if you are dressed sharp, if you are smiling or your body language. They can only make a judgment about you based on what they hear. Manners can be a key way to leave a positive impression and be invited back to appear on more programs.