Interviewing skills: You jump out of your
car - glowing from your victory! Suddenly a
microphone is thrust in your face and you
freeze, unable to say a word. Don't let this
We may not like being interview - we may hate the sound of our voices
but if you want to race seriously, interviewing skills are a necessity.
Now before I worry you further, these skills can be learned and here are
a few pointers.
Know your voice.
Volume - speak clearly and breathe. By using your diaphragm to force
the air through your larynx and out your mouth will produce a better
Watch the speed at which you talk and the pitch. Interviews are time
sensitive but running through your words will make the audience have
trouble understanding you.
Know yourself and your sponsors. Our emotions may run high but keep
your answers clean. If the interview is because of a racing incident, DO
NOT use it to bash other racers, your team, the series, your
life...because YOU will look bad. Do not air dirty laundry or your
professionalism and credibility will suffer. If the interview is about a
victory or another accomplishment, remember to validate your teams and
Not only should you be grateful for their help but a sponsor is there
to be promoted by you and your team - always mention them. PRACTICE
PRACTICE and PRACTICE. Know their name and pronounce it correctly.
"The 'ABC Widget Company' car was indestructible today ..."
Recruit friends and family to be an audience. Tape yourself and play
it back - make sure you naturally mention your team's sponsors every
chance you get. That is adding value to their sponsorship. Word emphasis
Don't panic. A good interviewer will help you along. Remember they are
asking the questions and your purpose is to answer them the best you
can. A good interviewer will be in control of the interview - let
him/her start it and finish it. Try to be natural.
If by chance you get a bad interviewer, don't panic. If you do not
know the answer, say so. Remember you'll be respected by saying "I don't
have an answer to that" instead of looking like a fool by making one up.
Here is where practice can help. Have your friends give you some
questions to answer - from the basics of "How was your race today" in
which you briefly give a recap to "how do you feel about gun control"
where by your answer or lack there of can be a situation to practice.
Some may say you should answer your feelings but I for one think if
asked a question which is irrelevant to your situation - feel free to
say to your interviewer "Although it's a serious issue, I'm not informed
of the all the facts so can't comment" or "I'd rather not discuss issues
that don't pertain to racing". Both are acceptable and make you in
control of the interview.
If you are going to a TV/radio station to be interviewed at the time
of the confirmation feel free to ask what topics they plan to cover.
Most of the time they will brief you so you can be prepared. For example
if they want to talk to you about women in racing in general, then it
gives you time to research some of the female pioneers, names,
So the next time you have a microphone thrust in your face, make
friends with it. Take a deep breath and relax - you're prepared. Think
positively and all fear will disappear and you will shine like a true
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