Telling your story in less than 30 seconds

“Write tight” is the mantra for broadcast reporters. It means “don’t waste words” because radio and television audiences have short attention spans and won’t stay with you for long or complicated stories. Most broadcast stories, especially on radio, are under 30 seconds, including the interview portion.

To make the most of a broadcast interview opportunity, follow these tips:

  • Leave nothing to chance. At the beginning of the interview say and spell your name and the name of your company, then follow up with a quick explanation of who you are and what you do.
  • Speak so the audience understands. It is harder to understand stories and concepts while listening than while reading. Use easy to understand words and a simple sentence structure so people hearing it for the first time understand what you’re saying.
  • Don’t ramble. Complete your thought, drop your voice and go quiet. This technique adds value to what you are saying. It also makes it easier for the reporter/producer to find edit points without changing your meaning.
  • Animate yourself and the excitement will come through in your voice. Broadcast picks up tempo, tone, and modulation in your voice, so make sure you sound animated.
  • Use the right telephone for broadcast clarity. If you’re not doing the interview in person, make sure you use a landline phone and never use a speaker phone. This will give the reporter a crisp, clear interview.

Being a “good interview” pays off in two ways: the audience hears your message and the reporter calls you first when he needs your expertise for the next story.

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