10 Author Essentials for Talking on the Radio

Once upon a time I was very nervous about getting media placements and talking on the radio. Like most writers, I preferred to simply write, not speak–even if no one could actually see me. I even remember a time when I used a complete script to answer questions asked by the radio host and never varied at all from my prepared responses. And those responses simply showed the audience what I knew–they taught and preached rather than tried in any way shape or form to connect with the listeners on an emotional level. I know that was one boring interview!

I’ve come a long way from those days–I hope! I’ve worked with a great media coach, Michael Ray Dresser, whom I found after appearing on his radio show, Dresser After Dark, and taking advantage of his free post show consultation. And guess what? These days I appear on his show just about every Monday at 4:34 p.m. PT as his writing and publishing pro! I’ve also taken classes with Susan Harrow to learn how to hone my sound bites and I’ve worked with sound bite buddies to continue learning and working on my media presentation.

Here’s are the essentials about what I learned about how authors should talk on the radio. When you learn to do these few simple things, your media gigs won’t seem so difficult and you won’t feel so overwhelmed or scared of them.

  1. Be yourself; don’t try to be someone else. Be authentic.
  2. Talk to the host as if you were talking to a friend, associate, client on the other end of the phone. Don’t be too formal or uptight.
  3. Send out questions to the host so they know what to ask you and so you know what questions you’ll be asked.
  4. Have bulleted points ready for answers, but don’t have a full script so you don’t read from it. Basically, know your material and wing it so you sound natural.
  5. Have stories ready to illustrate your answers. Listeners will respond to your stories and remember them much more than anything else you say. Become a good story teller.
  6. Be prepared to discuss something totally different or to answer questions you did not pose. If you are prepared for this eventuality, you won’t sound nervous when it happens. Enjoy this…it’s a conversation. If you enter in, you’ll have fun!
  7. Listen well, especially if the host does not stick to the questions. If you are listening, your responses will be on target and interesting.
  8. Laugh. Joke. Don’t take it all so seriously. Be a good sport.
  9. Ask the host a question. Don’t make the conversation totally one sided.
  10. Last, don’t be afraid to say what you need to say. Know what website and phone number you want to give out. If you have a book and website you want to mention, make sure you make a time to say it if the host does not offer you one.

Don’t be afraid to search out media placements. In particular, radio shows are great fun once you get the feel for them. And the more of them you do, the easier it is to land more of them!

Listen to me every Monday at 4:34 p.m. PT at Dresser After Dark to get your writing and publishing tips! Leave me a comment if there’s a topic you want Michael Ray and I to discuss.

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