Reprinted with permission from The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing by Linda Radke. Please visit Five Star Publications for more information.
Hi, Mom, I’m on TV!
Let’s say that you made the connection. A producer wants you to come on and talk about your area of expertise. You aren’t bumped or canceled from the show. You figure that you’ll mark the day on your calendar, show up, answer a few questions, walk away, and viewers at home will respond to what you say. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not quite that easy.
You Look Mahhhhvelous!
What does being a good guest mean? If all goes well, being a good guest means that you’ll be someone who will be called again. You’ll be someone who is recommended to other producers by the person who booked you. And many times, being a good guest means that you were able to get your point through to the viewer. Before you appear for your interview, you should prepare some objectives for yourself that are clear. This way you’ll have some guidelines to say everything you want to say. (Many times you won’t end up
covering it all, but it’s good to have a game plan.) On many shows, the producer will call you up a couple of days (or sometimes a couple of weeks) before the interview to confirm everything with you and may also do what’s called a pre-interview. In this pre-interview, the producer will prepare you by asking questions that will be similar to the host’s questions. This isn’t always done, but if it is done, two reasons for doing it are: 1) The producer can get a better idea of how you will respond on television, and 2) it will give you
an idea of what will happen during the segment. Often, however, a pre-interview is in the form of a casual conversation between you and the producer. Don’t worry if you’re not given a pre-interview (and don’t
subsequently bother the producer for one). You’ll be informed before the show of how the segment will go and what will be expected from you. The best preparation you can do is by yourself. If you need to, go back over all of your press information. This will help highlight the important points in the interview. You definitely don’t want to be labeled as a needy guest. One of the biggest pitfalls is becoming an overeager or needy guest. You could end up shooting yourself in the foot. If this is your first time being interviewed, great. Don’t think that just because you’ve been booked on the show that your new friend, the producer, can speak to you constantly about every worry and concern. If you have questions, jot them down and try to ask them all at once. High-maintenance guests are the first ones who find themselves cut on a busy day or end up getting their air time shortened. Be confident. You got this far, so you’ll be fine.
Here are a few other things you should keep in mind to ensure that this interview won’t be your last. If you follow these tips, you’ll ensure a successful appearance and will increase your chances of being called to appear again. You will, at the very least, have a good tape of your fine interview that you can show to future producers.
• Be on time to the studio.
• Match your style of clothing to the style of the show.
• Look well-groomed.
• Be a high-energy guest.
• Act friendly and cooperate with the host(s).
• Elaborate fully—don’t give one-word responses.
• Use short anecdotes to illustrate ideas.