Why Media Interviews Are Like TV Commercials

You’re preparing dinner for your family.

The television is on in the living room, but it’s mostly background noise. You’re only paying partial attention as you pan fry a few chicken patties and season some sliced carrots.

Then, suddenly, the television’s sound goes off. Your head snaps up. And you realize that an advertiser cleverly produced a commercial with visuals – but no sound – and accomplished their goal of getting your full attention.

Good interviewees apply the same principle during broadcast media interviews. They know that on the other end of the radio or television is a person who’s cooking dinner, driving the kids to school, or playing with the dog. They don’t assume that the audience is hanging on their every word; rather, they know they have to reach out and grab the audience’s attention.

Seasoned pros do it by varying the tone, volume, and pace of their verbal delivery.

If they’ve been speaking at a moderate pace, they suddenly speed things up. If they’ve been speaking rather softly, they get louder. If they’ve been speaking in a deep voice, they suddenly soften it.

By doing so, they’ve recaptured the audience’s attention.

Here’s an example: You’re on the radio and are working up to your key point. You’ve been speaking at a fairly moderate pace, and your volume has been rather steady. As you work your way to your key point, you suddenly slow down and reduce your tone to that of a whisper. By doing so, you’ve signaled to members of the audience that something important is coming.

Their heads snap up. They pay attention. And they put their sliced carrots on hold while they hang on your every word.