1. Get all the intel
Before going on any radio show they should tell you how long the segment is, and who else will be on the air with you (ie. whether there will be other guests, callers, multiple hosts, etc.) You have a right to get this information in advance.
2. Ask if it’s live or recorded
You should also ask whether the segment is live or recorded. If it is recorded, if you trip up, you can simply start from the beginning and they will edit it.
3. Know your audience
Always get a sense of who your audience and craft your messaging to fit your audience. If you know the audience is more conservative, think about how to frame your messages in a way that appeals to that audience while still being authentic.
4. Have 3 topline talking points
I’m a big believer in having 3 topline talking points which you repeat over and over again, in various formations. You should be well versed and knowledgeable about the general topic, but don’t let the host take you where you don’t want to go. Make sure you have a chance to make all 3 of your points. No one will remember more than 3 points anyway, and most won’t remember more than 1, so say them over and over again. It may seem boring and ridiculous but it works.
5. You don’t have to answer all of their questions
Remember that you don’t have to answer everything – especially if you are being baited. If you get stuck, you can always say, “That’s an interesting question” or “That’s an interesting point, but the real question…” or “That’s an important question, but we see the real problem as being…” and then go on to answer the question you wish you had been asked. Bring it back to your talking points as quickly and as gracefully as possible.
6. Always be prepared.
Practice beforehand. Have someone ask you tough questions, and try to answer them. Use the tricks to make a transition back to your talking points.
7. Stand up if you can
Standing up manages nerves and makes your voice clearer, but if you’re in the studio and it’s weird to stand while the host is sitting, then sit -whatever makes you most comfortable will come across best.
8. Smile broadly when you greet the host or speak to a listener
Smiling often is key – do it all the time including as you begin to answer each question (unless it’s offensive). The audience will be able to hear the smile in your voice and will respond.