As we explain in our Media Training courses for lawyers, radio programmes and podcasts offer lawyers significant opportunities to promote themselves and their firms and to acquire new business. News and current affairs programs are constantly on the lookout for interviewees and contributors who can keep their audiences up-to-date with new developments in their sectors, as well as providing useful insights and advice.
Radio is a very powerful medium because in the UK alone around 98% of us will listen to it at least once during the week. Worldwide there are just over 3million podcasts currently available with over 180million episodes to choose from. In our media training workshops for law firms, we explain the difference between a radio and a podcast interview and offer suggestions on how to prepare for each of them.
Based on what we teach in the Media Training courses for lawyers that we provide, here are some top tips for partners and other spokespeople for law firms who want to make the most of radio and podcast interviews.
1. Be really clear on the audience.
As with any good communication, it’s essential to know who you’re speaking to. With radio, it might be a business slot on the Today Programme on Radio Four, a more consumer–facing piece on LBC or local radio, or it could be a specialist subject on a podcast. There are over 350,000 business podcasts available so there are plenty of opportunities to speak directly to businesspeople here. Focusing on your audience and thinking about what they want to hear from you, as well as the language that they will understand and the issues that will connect with them, is essential when it comes to delivering a good radio interview as a lawyer.
2. Think about your message.
Lawyers are ‘details’ people, but, as we point out in our Media Training for law firms, the media take a very broad-brush approach. This means that you can really only have one or perhaps two messages per interview. If you provide too many facts, figures, thoughts and insights when doing an interview for the radio, which is to be recorded and the clip taken for a package or a report, you don’t know which of your various messages the journalist is going to take away and use in the final product. This means that you have less control over what goes out.
With live interviews, I’m afraid that the simple truth is that your audience is almost certainly not hanging on your every word. They will dip in and out and pick up on only a few points. If you deluge them with information, they won’t remember anything you say. However, if you’re clear on those one or two key points that you would like them to take away and remember – and possibly even act on – then hone down your message and focus on it.
3. Introduce some stories.
Radio is all about stories. Even a business interview works better. If you can, introduce some case studies, examples and even little anecdotes. The great thing about stories is that they illustrate what you’re saying – just think how many times in a day you might use an example when explaining something. They also prove your message. Not only that, but your audience is more likely to remember your stories and anecdotes than they are your key points about the law. It’s when they recall stories and share them with others that they will remember the points that you were making and the fact that you were the one who was making them.
4. Take the initiative during radio interviews.
One of the key bits of advice for lawyers doing media interviews that we always include in our Media Training for law firms is to take the initiative and get onto the front foot. This is as true of radio interviews as it is of press and television. There are two advantages here. The first is that getting into the driver’s seat enables you to get your message across and make the most of the opportunity to speak to potential clients.
The second advantage is that if you’re talking, then there’s less opportunity for the interviewer to introduce something that is irrelevant or risky. All of our media trainers at Communicate Media are working journalists and presenters operating under strict Nondisclosure Agreements. As they can tell you, if an interviewee gives one sentence answers, then they are forced to dive in with more questions and comments. The chances are that these interventions won’t be very helpful or could be nothing to do with what you’ve agreed to talk about. So, take the initiative and make sure that you are driving the interview, rather than leaving it to the interviewee – after all you’re the expert.
5. Add energy and emphasis to your delivery.
In our media interview coaching for lawyers, be they partners of major law, firms or barristers, we remind our course participants that a radio interview, like a TV appearance, is something of a performance. Yes, you’re still you, but you’re you in presentation mode. This doesn’t mean that you’re shouting at your audience – after all, radio is a very intimate medium, but it does mean that you’re adding extra energy, emphasising, keywords, and phrases, speaking more slowly, and adding that element of variation in tone or “light and shade,” as we call it, to really encourage your listeners to listen to every word.
Doing a radio interview will take time out of the working day of a partner and, of course, implies risks. However, by preparing using these tips, as we explain in our Media Training courses for lawyers, you can mitigate the risks and greatly improve the opportunities, turning a radio interview into a positive and useful experience.
Come and talk to us about enabling the partners at your law firm among others, to be ready to do radio interviews.