My guest counts. My guest is more important than me. I don’t use the word “I.” I ask short questions. I listen to the answers.
Interview with Larry King from The Talk – Chicago Tribune
After 400 shows as a producer/host on national cable for Wisdom Television, I learned a thing or two.
Who was my media coach? You guessed it. Larry King. Watched him every night.
Here are a few things I learned.
1. This is probably the most important point that Larry made. Your guest is the star of the show. Not you. Do not give your opinion on anything. Do not tell stories about your experiences. Nobody cares.
2. Research. Research. Research. Pretend your guest has asked for a big loan. Check out everything about them. Make a list of all possible questions. Give your guest the list and have them add to yours. Give them the probable first question.
3. Short intro. No more than two minutes. I always liked to start with a question. Like “Are you wondering what to do about —-? (whatever) We have help for you today. ” You want to engage your listener right away. Then, a few credentials. Do not mention why you asked them to be on your show. That’s about you. This interview is about them. Thank them warmly for coming on.
4. Listen. I know you have YOUR LIST. But if your guest says something provocative, stop and ask about it.
I swear I have heard some interviewers who if their guest said, “I just drowned my cat,” instead of saying, “WHAT???” would go on to their next question. This is a conversation, not an interrogation.
5. Assume your audience knows nothing. So start with the basics. For example, I once had an author on my TV show who was a Buddhist nun. She was surprised when I told her my first question was “Who was Buddha?” She said everyone knew. They don’t.
6. Ask a question once. Don’t add a tail on it like, “In your book you refer to —-Can you explain it? I mean that is quite a statement. Where did you get that idea?”
Let the first question hang out there. Your guest got the question the first time.
One of my favorite questions Larry King asks is just “Why?”
7. Don’t interrupt.. Unless your guest is hijacking your show with self-promotion. Then interrupt and bring them back to explore an earlier point in the interview. Tell them in advance you will promote them. They don’t have to do it.
8. No personal questions. Unless you clear it with your guest first.
9. Avoid technical terms. See #5.
10. At the end of the interview, be sure to thank your guest for taking the time to come on your show.
11. Recap their bio briefly at the close – “We have been talking to -etc.
12. Don’t promote yourself until the very end. You are entitled to a short promo but make it real and appropriate and short. Maybe just your web site.
13. Thanks for listening to me today. I’m Corinne Edwards and I am a media coach.
And special thanks to you, Larry. You are a great teacher. Can’t wait to read your new book, My Remarkable Journey.
For more information on how I might help you, click here.