As a guest in the media, you’re referred to as the ‘talent’, and what they’re looking for is great talent.
Yep, you’re like a juggling act or a poodle at a dog show. You’re there to add interest, colour, a new and different voice, oh and of course an informed opinion.
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You could be the most knowledgeable and well-informed person on a certain topic, but we’re here to tell you that you won’t be asked back unless you’re interesting.
You need to be ‘good talent’. What does that mean? Well speaking from combined 25 years’ experience in radio, TV and online, here’s what we would look for:
• A smile in your voice. Literally – smile when you talk – it totally changes your voice!
• A big personality. The type of personality can range, think of Gordon Ramsay versus Nigella Lawson versus Jamie Oliver. They’re all very different personalities but they’re definitely all big personalities. For your character to come across well in print, on screen or through the radio, it has to be almost larger than life.
• Confidence. Everyone gets nervous but you have to be ballsy enough to sound/look fairly relaxed and to avoid being a ‘rabbit in the head lights’! You also need the confidence to sit back and let the presenter or host drive the conversation. They have a plan, so pace yourself and don’t blurt everything you’ve got out in one go.
• Authenticity. Yes, good talent can switch ‘on’ and ‘off’, certainly, and you’ll always put your best foot forward when you’re in the spotlight, but you can’t fake it. Be yourself, but be your biggest and brightest self. If you’re being authentic, you’ll be able to be spontaneous and quick to answer questions from left-field because you won’t be filtering your answer.
• A lack of polish. There’s nothing more boring that someone who is fresh out of ‘media training’, is measured and polite and wants to script every detail of their answer before they’re on-air. It’s boring just thinking about it. You must have the confidence to laugh at yourself and to put yourself out there, otherwise you sound like a politician.
• Something unique. That little extra that makes you stand-out from the rest. Hopefully that comes from you being authentic. It could be a broad Aussie accent or a particular turn-of-phrase you have, a personality quirk or a unique story you have to tell. It could be anything but it is always engaging and interesting.
• Credibility. Of course, you do need some credibility such as tertiary qualification or significant experience in the field you’re talking about. But that’s not enough. You need to be articulate and able to respond well (and quickly) when you’re put on the spot. A good producer will brief you so you’ll know what to expect from an interview, but you’ve got to be OK with some curve balls!
• Availability. In this case, the world revolves around the program – not you. If you’re serious about getting some air-time, you’ll need to make yourself available and be willing to sacrifice other commitments when opportunities arise.
Although you might want to score some media appearances to boost your profile or that of your business, no-one wants to know that, so leave your ego at the door! In fact, at some media outlets, you won’t even have your business mentioned but don’t worry, it doesn’t matter. The best possible way you can promote yourself is to be interesting, engaging, likeable and maybe a little humble.
If you’re good talent, you’ll be asked back; and if the audience likes you, they’ll find you.
This article was originally published on Women’s Agenda.