Since most media interviews that authors get are brief, it’s important to limit your answers to the key information. I used to make the mistake of going into detail when I answered an interviewer’s questions. I’d go through my entire answer, and then try to wrap it up with a clever statement. By that time, however, my audience was bored and losing interest. To them, it was like reading a newspaper with no headlines. They needed something to get their attention in the first place.
One of the best ways to grab your audience is to speak in “soundbites,” which are pithy statements that sum up your thoughts. Think about soundbites like a newspaper editor using a headline to introduce an article. And, when an interviewer asks you a question, start your answer by using your soundbite. This approach will help keep your audience listening for the rest of your answer.
For example, when I wrote my book on relationships, interviewers used to ask me, “Rob, is it appropriate for a woman to ask a man for a date?” My soundbite response was, “She can try, but if a man won’t lead in dating, then he usually won’t lead in marriage, and she’ll windup miserable married to a passive guy.” Now, you may disagree with my answer, but my bet is that I grabbed your attention, right? And, you probably want me to explain my answer further. This should be your goal as an author. Say things that make the audience want to know more about your message. Below are some soundbites that I’ve helped authors create:
- The goal of confrontation should always be restoration – not winning.
- Oftentimes, we’re kinder to strangers than we are to our kids.
- Sex is like superglue.
- Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Because as you forgive, you set yourself free.
- No one enters a toxic environment without safety measures. Why enter a toxic relationship without protection?
Logic makes people think, but emotion makes them act. So, a good soundbite helps generate emotion in your listeners, such as laughter, curiosity, or even anger. When people feel a deeper interest in your book, then they will want to buy it. Remember, someone may be listening to your interview in their car, and it may be a while before they can purchase your book. If you find a way to stick in their memory, then you increase the chance that they will take action.
So, once you’ve created your interview questions, then come up with soundbites for each answer. Take the time to memorize your soundbites. Doing so will help lead you into the rest of your answers. When you’re booked for a radio interview, write out your soundbites on a sheet of paper and keep them in front of you.