Last night I was interviewed by Bruce Whitfield on his Money Show as part of his Shape Shifters segment. The show is featured on Cape Talk and Radio 702 and has a fairly large audience at 200,000+ listeners. I was keen to impress, so I spent an hour beforehand thinking through the sorts of questions Bruce might ask about GetSmarter and online education generally. This helped me keep certain discussion points top of mind. With a few minutes to go before I was on air, I felt prepared.
Bruce is a great interviewer. And I know my subject well, so even though he asked me questions I hadn't prepared for I felt comfortable throughout the entire interview. I left the interview feeling that the interview had been a success. He asked good questions. I answered with authority, and there were playful, energetic interactions throughout. I also had a lot of fun.
That could have been the end of my experience of this interview. But as I got to work this morning I received an email from Cape Talk with a recording of the interview. What a great opportunity to review my performance!
So I spent 20 minutes listening to the clip and wrote the following review:
- I need to stop filling the space between sentences with "ums" and "ahs". While listening to the recording I was acutely aware of how this detracted from the quality of the talk, even though I was happy that the content of the talk was good. I would never have recognised this issue if I didn't review a recording of the interview. My solution moving forward: i'm going to slow down the speed of my delivery, and i'm going to embrace the pauses. And i'm going to get recordings of all the interviews, review them to find ways to improve, and re-learn again and again.
- I need to focus on delivering sound bites. I found myself telling stories, which in itself isn't bad, but I didn't finish the talk with any specific take aways. And I think these take aways are key to the message I want to send, and the value that the listeners take away from the interview. I need to think in terms of sound bites and then deliver these sound bites. My solution moving forward: i'm going to prepare by anticipating as many questions as I can, and then write down bullet point answers that could each be seen as a sound bite. Then, during the talk, i'm going to look for opportunities to seed these sound bites into the conversation.
As I went through this process I thought of a simple summary of how we can learn from our performance in public: record, review, re-learn.
I've got a lot to learn. And when it comes to improving my performance in interviews i'm going to follow the process of recording, reviewing and re-learning. Over and over again. I'm excited.
Here's the recording from last night's interview: