Now, more than ever, business experts are being asked to appear as guests on podcasts or video interviews. This type of media interview is different than a presentation, and requires different preparation.

As an expert, you want to take advantage of this opportunity and appear polished and professional. Here are three suggestions that can make you more engaging.

Tell a story.

During an interview you will be asked about yourself and your background. One technique you can use for your answer is to structure the response as a three-act play. It might go something like this:

  • Act One: What makes you an expert?
  • Act Two: What did you discover that moved you to your current space?
  • Act Three: How does what you are doing today combine your expertise and your discovery?

Here is an example from an executive in a specialty pharmaceutical company:

  • Over the last 25 years I have worked in academia and as an executive at three of the Fortune 500 drug companies.
  • In my last position as head of research and business development for XYZ company, I realized that there were hundreds of drugs that were being deprioritized due to lack of resources.
  • I recently joined ABC company as VP of Development. Today, I want to talk about how we are licensing IP from the big pharma companies and bringing solutions to the market to save lives.

Please note: This short drama needs to play out in less than two minutes.

Remember, you don’t have to convince me of your expertise. (You would not be a guest if you were not an expert).  Instead, you need to make me interested in what you have to say.

When asked about your company, look at your elevator pitch.

  1. What problem do you solve?
  2. How do you solve it?
  3. What makes you different?

For my company, e-Conversation Solutions, we:

  • Help companies to better utilize their internet content to grow sales.
  • Work with marketing and sales to integrate the content into the selling process.
  • Ask “How are you going to use it?” rather than asking “What do you want say?” as the first question.

Think about how many discussion questions can come out of these three statements.

Take control.

Make sure you know how long the interview will last.  Ask if you are going to be interviewed alone or featured with other presenters.

If other presenters are scheduled, ask who they will be and consider how you can complement them.

If show notes will be posted, send the host or the designated team member the appropriate material in advance. Provide a picture and bio consistent with the content that will be discussed, and within the word count limits requested.

If you don’t have a professional picture, go get one taken immediately. First impressions are lasting.

Try to obtain a list of questions that you may be asked and prepare your answers.

However, don’t plan to read your answers. It is important to be responsive and authentic.  By writing down the answers to the questions and practicing a little, you will already know what you want to say.

Before the interview, spend some time going over your responses one more time.  If you have a practice partner, request they also ask you questions that are not on the list so you can anticipate where the conversation might go.

Also, put together a list of questions that you would like to be asked. You would be surprised how often your show host will pick them up. If a topic is relevant, you will want to find a way to weave some of your key content into the discussion even if you aren’t specifically asked about it.

Create some word pictures.

Your goal is to be intriguing during your interview. A word picture can help.

Here are a few examples:

I was working with a business incubator group in the life sciences. The head of the group said that his goal was “to create an environment for spontaneous collaboration.” What is “spontaneous collaboration”?  By elaborating, he was able to lead the discussion in an interesting way.

A home improvement company noted that their goal was “flawless design.” Think about where that might lead over the course of the interview.

Your word picture exists not to explain, but to encourage discussion. Have a couple of prepared real-life examples. Make sure you practice because a good word picture can lead to a great discussion.

What word picture could you use in your business? What story examples do you have to best illustrate it?