I’m still working this out – – –
. . . I think it’s the same as being a good guest: care about the host, about other guests, about being clear, about a nice good-bye, and about having “a-ha” moments.

  1. Lisa WexlerCare about the host of the show! Find out what the host is interested in. What aspect of your topic he/she most wants to talk about. I think a good radio host is like a good lawyer – this person will lead you through the right questions to make a compelling case for the listeners! Plus, you’ll have more fun is this interview is not like all the other interviews you’ve done (it never is!). You’ll have more fun if you speak to the host ahead of time: send a few bullet points or talk on the phone. Just get a sense of what’s fun for the host. If the host is having fun, the listeners are having fun!
  2. Care about your listener – help them. Prepare info for them. Before I went on this radio show with Live! with Lisa host Lisa Wexler, I put together some reference materials for listeners and posted it on my blog. (Because with radio, you may not have time to write everything down).
  3. Care about being clear – simplifying, repeating, and summarizing. Being clear in audio format means speaking not too fast and definitely not too slow. It means simplifying a message into the core ideas and not into all the information you know about that topic. This is really, really hard for me. The authors of “Made to Stick” call this “The Curse of Knowledge.” Trying to explain ideas to friends helps you simplify them for future re-telling. : )
  4. salsaCare about a good ending. There’s a concept in positive psychology called the “peak-end rule,” which states that people remember the high point and the end of most events. So your last vacation – what do you remember most? Likely the peak experience and the end. This means that as guests, we’ll want to leave on a great note. Just like if you’re dancing with someone at a salsa club, you will remember how that dance ended. End the show on a fun note.
    This also means “care about the time.” The first radio show I did about positive psychology was 15 minutes (that means 11 minutes if you count the commercials). I had prepared a fun walk-through of the ABCDE Resilience method for getting out of a slump, and I got the C part of ABCDE by minute 10. I summarized D and E, and did not have a great ending that time. C’est la vie.
  5. a-haCare about “a-ha” moments. Think about when you’ve gone to a party that you’ve really enjoyed – just a few people at dinner for example. Typically, there was something that resonated with you – some “a-ha” thoughts. “A-ha” thoughts don’t happen with a gaggle of words. Care about pauses, questions, and time to think. Care about what Kathy Sierra calls the “oh cool! / oh sh#t!“/ two words of passion response: if your listener thinks it’s really cool or a really big mistake, he or she will remember it much clearer – that’s how the brain works.

If you’re a rock star, also keep these optional mastery-level techniques in mind:

  • Come to the interview with THREE STORIES. People like stories.
  • Know in advance what your two-three summarizing points will be – people will only remember a few take-aways, especially on radio. One of these can be mentioning a resource or website for people about the topic you just discussed.
  • Make fun of yourself in some way. Yes, you’re on the show as an expert, but show vulnerability. Show that you’re a real person because you are. And that makes you much more approachable through the radio.

Have fun! Let me know how it goes.
All of the above applies to being a guest in general.


  1. Posted Tuesday February 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Senia, great ideas! Thanks for the coaching. I have a radio interview in two weeks about my new book, Pathways to Greatness, and wasn’t sure how to prepare. It’s been years since I’ve been on radio. These are wonderful, specific tips that I will take to heart as I prepare. Thank you for sharing them. BTW, I found this post through Twitter; thought you’d like to know.

  2. Posted Monday March 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Senia, your prep work is one of the reasons why you are one of only 2 regulars on the Live! with Lisa Radio show. Of course the other reason is your shining personality that beams through the airwaves. Much love, Lisa