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Friday, April 1, 2011

On the Other Side of the Mic

I love hosting podcast and webinars. I am approaching my second anniversary of hosting my featured podcast, "Information in a Nutshell: Writing and Publishing Radio Show" for authors. My show has been featured on Blog Talk Radio for the day, week and even week-end. I've interviewed over one hundred people and have thousands of listeners over the years. You would think I'd be relaxed on the air. However when the mic is not in my "control" and I'm being hosted by someone else it is a bit unnerving. In fact it is *very* unnerving...downright scary.

So, when an invitation came from Krista Dunk to interview me on her show, Koinonia Business Women Radio, I said yes, but not without those nagging, not-in-control thoughts. The questions began to run through my mind.

What if I say something stupid?

What if I don't know the answer?

What if no one comes to listen to the show?

What if she has nothing to say to me?

What if she never invites me back?

Of course none of those things happened...well I don't know if I'll ever be invited back, but I'll keep you posted on that one! However I do know that when hosting my own shows I am relaxed. I really enjoy the experience of talking to strangers many who I will never meet this side of heaven, and I  have a blast. My job as the host is to make my guest relaxed, interject a few thoughts or comments and jump in to save the day in the case of a guest who is at a loss for words.

Krista Dunk, the host of the Koinonia Business Women Radio began the show with an incidental comment, setting the tone of an excited but relaxed host and making me feel totally at ease. Once the countdown (behind the scenes) took place before we went "live" I felt the normal adrenalin spike. I listened while Krista began her introduction and could sit back until she introduced me. I wasn't in charge I reminded myself, I could relax! She was the expert host.

So how do you prepare for an interview? How do you sound relaxed, excited and oh, so knowledgeable? Believe me for some it is a gift and for others it takes work! Here are a few keys to making it work:

1. Know your topic.

2. List key information such as numbers or other points you may not remember.

3. Make sure you drink plenty of water.

4. Be passionate about your topic.

5. Thank the host.

Knowing your topic is a given. You are being interviewed because you have something to contribute. Yet nerves can get the best of us, even the most knowledgeable person. Jotting down notes can be a big help. Additionally list statistics or key points you want to mention. In case your interviewer doesn't remember to ask for your web address or, for example, the title of your book, writing it down will remind you to interject that information where appropriate. While some may consider it silly to list "drink" plenty of water, know that I have interviewed guests who clear their throats often. This is annoying in listening to replays. And, it has happened to me especially when I am sick. Drinking plenty of fluids (non-caffeine) is beneficial.

If you want to instill an element of enthusiasm to what can otherwise be a dull talk being passionate about a tropic can really help. Interjecting humor (if not forced) can also add an element of fun. Laughing at yourself is fine if you don't over do it. There needs to be a balance to humor and enthusiasm. Don't forget to end by using your manners. Thank your host and when the show is over and send an email or thank-you note by snail mail. In my years of interviews I've received several snail mail thank-yous and those adorn my office wall.

In case you are wondering about protocol it's okay to offer yourself as an interview subject. Have a ready paragraph or two about your value as a guest and above all, research. Be sure you are a good fit for your radio host's purpose. If so, go for it! You may enjoy being on the other side of the mic and who knows---someday you may host your own show.


  1. I love doing both. There are benefits to being on both sides. When hosting your own event, you are in charge and can do whatever you like. When a guest on someone else's show, you need to conform to the goals of the host and take your cues from her. Krista is a fabulous host and you are as well! It can be difficult to be a guest on a show where the host isn't proficient. I've had a few of those, too.

  2. I think I would be very nervous to do a talk radio show. I listen to them quite often though. I called in once time and hardly knew what to say. It was when author Jean Holloway was on. I couldn't believe I was actually talking to her and felt dumb afterward because I was so nervous and didn't know what to say! Your blog is very interesting and I am following you now!