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I did something yesterday entirely against my better judgement. I rushed to take an interview rather than scheduling it later in the day and taking time to prepare.
I've written here before about what not to do in an interview (that link includes several other links to interviewing blog posts). So what came over me? I wish I knew!
Sometimes when a journalist calls or e-mails, I fear that if I don't get right back to them, they'll find someone else. And it can happen. However, in this case, we discussed meeting times by e-mail, and both morning and afternoon times were good.
Here's how I normally prepare for a phone interview, especially if the interviewer has given me some clues as to what she is planning to ask me about.
I go to my blog and find the most pertinent posts about the topic. I search my newsletters and articles for appropriate material. Then I open them all on my desktop and search for key points I want to make. Sometimes I'll write them down; sometimes I highlight text and just refer back to it during the interview.
Did I do any of that? No. Because, instead of waiting to call her back in the afternoon, which we had already agreed was a possibility, I jumped the gun and called her back right after I got her message in the morning, with no preparation.
Had this interview been about one aspect of public speaking, say, engaging the audience, I could have maintained some focus. But this interview went all over the place and touched on many aspects of speaking.
I found myself giving (in my mind, anyway) rambling, inarticulate and unfocused answers to her questions. I knew I was leaving out key points -- ideas that I feel set me apart from other coaches and speakers. But my brain was just not ready.
Now this is not to say that the published interview will be inarticulate and rambling. The journalist's job is to put it all together into a cohesive piece that makes sense. I trust she'll do that. But I'm really disappointed in myself today for not taking my own advice and giving myself time to prepare. If my quotes in the article come out seeming less than intelligent, I have only myself to blame!