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People always ask me if I get nervous before going on TV and the simple answer is YES! Everybody does. But there are steps you can take to make sure the interview goes well and that you land your message.

You wouldn’t turn up to run a marathon without training for it, and I always think of broadcast interviews in the same way. Put in the effort beforehand and you’ll get the medal.

First things first – what do you want to say? What’s your message? Only you know this. Sit down, write it out, simplify it and start rehearsing it. Use a mirror. Stand in front of it and get those first couple of sentences into your head, so that when the time comes, the words just flow. 

A useful acronym I’ve been working on lately is FOAM – facts, observations, anecdotes, metaphors. Look at any good interview in the media and the interviewee will have said something that catches the eye and the ear. It makes for an attention-grabbing headline. Then the reader is hooked.

If you have an interesting statistic that’s new, use it. If your new product is going to be a ‘genuine gamechanger’, say it. If you’ve recently been approached by a customer who had praise for your company or your colleagues, tell that story. People love hearing stories. 

As a business leader you have the inside track that the presenter or journalist won’t have. Every business has facts and anecdotes. Find them and use them to tell your story better.

One thing to remember about TV interviews is that what you wear matters. Your clothing or jewellery must not distract from your message. Nothing too bright, no oversized ear-rings, for example. Cartoon ties are a complete no no! You want the viewer to be focusing on what you are saying, not getting distracted by your appearance.

Always ask what questions you are likely to be asked. The producer may not tell you specifically, but they should be able to give you a good steer and that’s valuable. It means you can prepare better. 

How to handle nerves? Just remember that YOU are the expert. They’re coming to you because it’s your business, your industry and they want your expertise. That should fill you with confidence.

And think of the one question you don’t want to be asked. Have an answer for it, prepare for it. Use a little phrase that will buy you some time to think – “look, I’m glad you’ve asked me that”, “that’s an interesting point you make”, “you’re the second person today to ask me this”.

Keep the message simple. Prepare. Rehearse. And the best advice I can give you? Say yes when the opportunity to speak comes along. You never know who will be watching…!

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