Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pitching Tips

Here is a short (we love short), email-appropriate template for pitching yourself to TV producers or guest schedulers:

“With _______________ going on in our nation/world/community, my expertise—(use one phrase here)-- lends itself to helping your audience. So please consider me as a guest on (title of the show). In addition, I may be a good fit because ________________. As for visuals. I have video/jpeg photos/books/props that could lend themselves to a unique/fun/interesting/poignant segment.

“If you want to know more, please read the press release/article/feedback I have added below. Thanks for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

If this is true, add this sentence before that last paragraph: "Because I live in __________, I can be at your studio on short notice. Think of me if a guest cancels at the last minute."

Add your contact information, including your website. When people send long, complicated emails, the screeners are likely to delete them without a second thought.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Listen for Cues

If you are being interviewed live, the interviewer or host will give you cues. Pick up on them. The interviewer will say, "In the 90 seconds we have left, tell us..." that means you have a whole minute and a half. Don't give a one-sentence answer, unless it takes you a minute to spit out a sentence.

And if the host says, "Quickly, before our break..." give your answer quickly. You will appear media savvy if you pick up the pace of your speech and avoid a "Well, uh, I was thinking that..." just answer.

If you are in the studio and there's chaos going on, just keep going unless you are stopped. For instance, lights can go out or hosts can choke, and if you're talking, the cameras may be avoiding the problems and be focusing on you. By keeping your cool, you're saving the program... and building your reputation as an excellent newsmaker or guest.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are frustrating for you, the newsmaker and for the talent interviewing you. You just can't hold as good of a conversation when you can't see the person's non-verbal communications.

For this reason, I recommend that you get to the studio if you're offered the option.

What happens in a phone interview is typically this... you take too long to answer a question or you pause, and the interviewer thinks you've finished your answer. So the host begins to ask you another question at the same time you start speaking again.

Interviewer: "I'm sorry. Go ahead and finish your sentence."

You: "No, my apologies. What were you asking?"

Interviewer: "No please..."

All this politeness can waste your valuable interviewing time. Unless you're being interviewed on Hardball, in which case you will always be interrupted.

So here's another tip (if you can't get to the studio). If the host interrupts you, just go silent. Let the interviewer either tell you to finish your sentence or ask another question. He or she may be interrupting you because you're speaking too slowly... or because (put your thick skin on) you're boring.

If this is happening to you in every interview, practice speaking a bit faster or hire a soundbite coach!