Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How to Ruin an Interview

This article is adapted from Don Otis’s MediaWise blog and is used with his permission. Don is president of Veritas Communications, a publicity agency that has scheduled more than 30,000 interviews since 1991. (www.veritasincorporated.com)
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In a world where the loudest (or stupidest) voices seem to garner the most attention, few people have the sense to let their reason and civility prevail. Christian pastor and writer Steve Brown says, “Wise and successful communicators will always realize they aren’t half as good as those who applaud are implying, aren’t half as bad as those who criticize might suggest.” 

I agree. Humility is always a greater strength than is arrogance.

If you’re a writer who wants to ruin an interview, here’s what you should do:

Try to impress the host or audience rather than communicate. A college English teacher once told me the idea of good writing is not to impress with big words (intellectualize) but to help people understand what you want to say.

Be stoic and show little or no emotion. If you aren’t excited about your book or topic, I guarantee no else will be either.

Quote the Bible often to show how biblically literate you are. There are times this may be helpful, but these times are rare during any interview. As the old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Don’t listen to the questions. By the way, this happens in marriages all the time. That’s why a good therapist will ask couples to repeat what they just heard a spouse say. You can’t do this in interviews, but you can be “others-directed” and listen well.

Disrespect the host or audience. We use the word rapport to describe good communication between people or groups. This is simply a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well. Disrespect inevitably destroys rapport.

Be unprepared. Show up late or forget to have your book or notes ready for an interview. Some authors I know are proud to say they “wing it.” Avoid this attitude.

Be inflexible. This means staying so focused on your needs that you fail to recognize the needs of the host or audience. 

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