All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

How Ready Are You To Be Interviewed?

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Carolee Sperry’s Blog Talk Radio show called Blogging Biz Mom. She does this show every Wednesday at 6:30, and I was honored to be the guest this time around. The show only lasts 30 minutes, and though I can’t say I’ve caught close to all of them, I have listened to a couple here and there when I’ve had the chance. If you’d like to listen to the interview we did, you can download it here; it’s an MP3, and I’m sure Carolee doesn’t mind. It’s publicity after all.

I love being interviewed. I want more of it, I must admit. Doesn’t matter if it’s print or radio or internet radio, I’m ready. I’m not sure the world is ready for me on TV or with a live audience, but maybe one day we’ll find out. I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m always ready to be interviewed. Beverly Mahone has these tips on preparing for a successful interview, and though they’re great tips, I have to own up to the fact that I have rarely done any of those things.

The couple of times I did do it was when Beverly invited me to help her host a couple of shows on older music. In that case I really did do some research and gather some facts on the acts we were going to talk about because, though I knew much of the music and the names, I didn’t know much detail about those songs or the artists; I was kind of young at the time after all.

I want to go in a different direction in talking about being interviewed. I think there’s a mental preparation one has to go through to make sure you’re ready. After all, this isn’t like a speech, where you get to write the entire thing down, memorize it, practice it, then repeat it perfectly to an awaiting audience. This is live, and you have to be calm, collected, funny, engaging, and above all else not come across as nervous.

This last one is a key if you’re being interviewed about something you’re promoting, whether it’s you or something else. If you don’t sound confident, then people are going to think you’re unsure about your business. That’s obviously not true, but if that’s the perception you put out then they’ll feel it and you might as well find a new career.

So here goes, tips for getting ready for an interview:

1. Grab something, act like it’s a microphone, and practice talking. As silly as you might think this is I don’t know a single person who had access to a pen or pencil as a kid that didn’t at least once act like they were doing a radio or TV show. What you want to practice is your “live” voice. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want to make sure that you speak clearly, speak loud enough without shouting, and not speak so fast that no one knows what you’re saying. You might feel a little silly initially, but you’ll feel natural in no time at all. If you have to practice singing; the right voice will eventually come to you.

2. Sit in a chair while you rehearse. Most interviews you’ll be a part of will have you sitting down. Your diaphragm, where your air comes from when you’re speaking, is a bit more compressed than when you’re standing up. Strange as it seems, you’ll run out of air quicker speaking while sitting than standing if you’re in a stressful situation. Interviews aren’t supposed to be stressful, but you might find it that way. If so, make sure you do this step.

3. Think of at least 5 possible questions you might be asked. This should be really easy because you’re being interviewed about something you do that the person on the other side wants to learn something about. It’s rare that you’ll be interviewed by someone who’s an expert at what you do, but even if they are who says all experts agree with each other? Unless you’ve done something wrong or the person interviewing you is mad at you, there won’t be many “gotcha” moments. In some circumstances interviewers will ask you to give them questions you wish to be asked; that’s makes things really simple.

4. Think of terms you can use to help you buy time in case you can’t come up with a quick answer. I actually did an interview of someone last year for my business blog and I wrote 13 questions up front that I didn’t have the chance to share with her before we began. For more than half of them she thought about it for a few seconds, then led with “Wow, that’s a great question.” It bought her time to formulate what she wanted to say.

5. Be calm. Remember that someone came to you and asked you do to the interview. This means they really want you to do well, and they really believe their audience will like you. No matter what the topic is, at that moment you’re the expert, the star, the one everyone came to hear. This wasn’t an assignment you had to do; this is fun. See it that way and you’ll do just fine.

And there you go. And if you listen to the interview above and want more, you can check out these other interviews I’ve done.

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Sunday Question – What Is The Last Great Album In Your Opinion?

Man, talk about a tough question for someone like me. Well, it’s not, but when I give my answer you’re going to say “no way”. But I at least have criteria; I wonder if you have the same thing or just go by the last thing you bought that you liked.


by Jem Stone

Ah yes, criteria. Without criteria, you’re just guessing and throwing things out without any meaning. Not having criteria allows you to say “Ooh, I love Lady Gaga because she did a song called Allesandro” without listening to anything else she might have done. Not having criteria allows you to say “Man, I hate Aretha Franklin” while you’re walking around the house singing “Respect.”

I have criteria that disallows things. Let’s take a look:

1. Classical albums of existing music don’t count. Sure, I love Rachmaninoff and Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, but if a monkey had enough talent to play that music and I bought it I would probably love it, and it would be a great album, but it’s not new music. So, that has to be thrown out.

2. Show tunes and movie music doesn’t count. Both are scripted to enhance a movie and to have flow throughout a full performance. I love both Phantom of the Opera and Wicked, but I have to ask if I’d have enjoyed both albums without their being a show to follow along with. I’m thinking that without the show I’d have never even given the music a shot, so they get excluded.

3. A great album doesn’t necessarily have to have a great hit, but whether it does or doesn’t, you have to like at least 75% of the music on it. We don’t have sides of an album anymore, but if you find yourself skipping songs you don’t want to hear, then it’s probably not a great album, just a pretty good album with a few songs you absolutely love. If that’s the best you can come up with for a great album then your criteria has a grading curve to it; don’t settle!

4. If this doesn’t start giving it away, if you folks know me, then nothing will. Your favorite album will most probably correspond with your favorite artist or artists. Man, I have a lot of great albums in my repertoire. There are so many that I loved either every song or almost every song, to the point that I’ll even listen to the not very good songs because if I didn’t I’d feel like I was taking away from the entire experience of the album.

My problem is that all the great albums (and yes, I still call them “albums” instead of CDs) are from when I was younger. Not necessarily my 20’s, but I have to face the fact that when I want to listen to certain things over and over, I go back to older songs. Sure, there are some newer songs I like, and I’ve even bought an album or two over the last bunch of years. But if I tell you that the last thing I bought was Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi, which came out in 2005… yeah, you know my collection of music is kind of old. lol

So, for me, the last, or newest I guess I’ll say, great album was… Dangerous by Michael Jackson. I almost said HIStory, but the first CD was a collection of old hits I loved and I didn’t make my 75% quota on the second album. Dangerous came out in 1991; isn’t that a shame? But off that album of 14 songs I loved 12 of them, which is 86%. And 9 songs, count ’em, 9 were released as singles from that album; who else has had that many songs stand on their own from one album except… oh yeah, Michael Jackson & the Beatles? 😉

Heck, let’s end with one of those songs; what album was your last greatest?

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How Do You Review?

A couple of nights ago I watched a documentary called Heckler, which was put together by Jamie Kennedy of The Kennedy Experiment fame. It was all about criticism and heckling of entertainers and how they deal with it mentally, physically, and emotionally.


Jamie Kennedy

Yeah, I know, you’re thinking mentally and emotionally are the same thing but they’re not in my context. Mentally is when you’re thinking about it later on and how it affects you in the long run. Emotionally is how you deal with it then and there, in the heat of the moment. Michael Richards is a perfect example of a guy who one bad night let his emotions get to him in a bad way, and look at how he’s had to deal with it mentally ever since.

There were some interesting things he did with this documentary. He talked to a lot of entertainers, mainly comedians, on the subject of heckling. He had lots of clips showing how some of these people reacted in public. Only one guy hit someone, but one guy got pelted with lots of garbage and another guy told the story of being cold cocked by a guy who heckled him and got insulted from the stage right back. Barbra Streisand’s in it yelling something back at a heckler, and some movie director named Uwe Boll actually dared some critics to fight him in a boxing match; he beat every single one of them up, one guy so bad he was vomiting for a long time afterwards. I don’t know why, but I actually enjoyed that.

But the most interesting thing he did was take many of the bad reviews he received for the movie Son of Mask (didn’t see it) to the people who wrote them, read the reviews in front of them, and asked them why they were so cruel.

His point was that as critics, none of them offered anything constructive, and in almost every case they made personal statements about him in general. A few backed down, a couple said it wasn’t personal (please) and a few were actually happy they’d gotten a rise out of him. One guy in particular said it was his goal to get known by any means possible, and the ruder he could be to someone the better he liked it. Yeah, I thought that guy was a punk.

It make me go back through some of my review posts on this blog to see just how bad I might have been here and there. I noticed that for the most part I’ve been really easy on things I didn’t like. Lucky for me, I like a lot more things than I don’t like; that’s a pretty nice life to have, right?


The only times when I’ve been a bit more brusque than other times is when it was personal. For instance, my last review of Demand Studios wasn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever said here, yet in comparison to reviews by other people it was fairly sedate. I also believe my responses to the couple of people who wrote in support of them was fair and measured as well.

When I wrote my review of the movie Skyline, a movie that greatly disappointed me, I didn’t go after any of the actors in the movie, but rather the breakdown on the script of the movie itself. There wasn’t anything I thought was overly mean or malicious, just truthful.

I think the only time I got really mean was when I was having a fight with the people from some place that I’m not going to name, but it was all about Akismet and involved some other folks as well. To date it’s the only post of mine where I actually deleted comments because some were threatening, and I did a test and found that the email addresses used were all fake; wasn’t having that either.

Goodness, I was even relatively nice (relatively that is) when I wrote a post supporting our friend Sire when he was having a debate with someone over something that, in the long run, was not only stupid, but proved to be accurate regarding commenting. It was a little bit snarky at the time, but even the guy I wrote about stopped by and understood my point, which shows it couldn’t have been all that bad.

Here’s the thing. There are people we don’t like for whatever reason, but there’s no reason to be over the top or mean about it. For instance, there’s a lot of hate I see being directed at this kid Justin Bieber. The thing is he’s only 16 years old; any adult saying nasty things about a 16 year old should be ashamed of themselves. Saying you don’t get his music is one thing; after all, we’re older and it’s not for us. Saying things about his appearance or anything else should be off limit.

I hated when professionals were piling on this young lady below, Janet Evancho, when she was doing opera on one of those TV talent shows. They were saying she didn’t have the chops and wasn’t fully trained as an opera singer. Folks, she’s 10 Years Old! I thought she was fabulous, and in this day and age when many types of classical music aren’t as popular as they once were because more kids want to listen to newer music, one would think these folks would be encouraging her instead of bashing her. So she has an album and you don’t tough!

I guess here’s my main point. Saying “you stink” doesn’t help anyone. Saying “I didn’t like it and here’s why”, then actually telling why, does help to a degree. I’ve had my critics. I wrote in my business newsletter days ago a story on when I wrote my first newsletter I sent it out to a lot of people to get their opinion on it, and anyone who actually made a comment commented on the look and format of the newsletter and not one person commented at all on what I’d written. In that instance I wasn’t helped at all since that’s what I was interested in hearing about.

I’m not saying don’t criticize things when you get irked. I certainly did when I had issues with a plugin that it seems a lot of people liked. But if you’re going to write some type of criticism, either temper yourself a little bit of make sure you do something like this. Now there’s a review! 😉

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CPAP Followup

Back in August I wrote that I was getting ready to start using a CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. In general, it’s a machine that helps people sleep better so that they’re less tired. Or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen. I’m going to tell you the real deal and give you an update on what’s going on with me.


by Robert
Anthony Provost

I guess the most important thing for you to know is that I’m still using it. This must mean that something good is happening for me. Here’s the truth. I still feel tired at some point throughout the day, and still have those times when I just have to take a nap. Sometimes it’s within a couple of hours after waking up, even before I’ve eaten something, which tells me it’s not related to eating the wrong thing, although it’s still possible that it’s related to diabetes.

But here’s a truth. When I sleep with the CPAP, I wake up actually feeling better than I do if I don’t wear it. The proof once again came to me two weeks ago, when I was out of town for a couple of days on a consulting assignment. I decided to leave the CPAP at home, worried that I might not hear the alarm going off each morning. I won’t be making that mistake again.

The CPAP actually helps me sleep better during the night. What I think it does is keeps me from shaking or moving as much because I stop breathing. Not that I don’t move or even wake up, because that still happens. However, I wake up and I’m breathing, and fairly deep as well. And I’m not always in the same place I was when I fell asleep, which can sometimes be scary (my wife and I don’t keep the same hours; I think that pleases her some lol).

So I wake up and have energy. Often it’s enough energy that I can head to the gym without being tired and I’m alert. It’s a pretty good feeling, one I’ve not had in my life. However, it doesn’t always last a long time. As I said, sometimes within a couple of hours I feel like I need another nap, and often it’s before I’ve eaten anything, since I rarely eat within the first hour I’m up. If that’s the case then I’ll set myself up to take a nap, but I’ve learned to take naps with the CPAP as well. I think it must be a breathing thing because every once in awhile I just need the mask on for maybe 10 minutes and I’m fine. Other times I do fall asleep, but when I awaken I feel pretty good.

Now, there are some other issues as well. I didn’t talk about it last time but I had this issue for the longest time with air blowing in my eyes. I tried 4 different masks until I settled on the one I have now, which blew the least amount of air into my eyes. Then my wife got me a sleep mask, and that’s taken care of that problem. Yes, it’s weird waking up all the time in darkness until I take the mask off, but that’s easy to get used to.

Another issue is how one breathes. I have what’s called a full face mask, which means it covers both my mouth and nose, so I can breathe either way. However, if you breathe too much through your mouth your throat can get really dry.

My CPAP has a humidifier, and the settings on the humidifier can be interesting to figure out, especially if you can’t stop breathing through your mouth too much. Too much humidity and you’re coughing a lot. Too little and you might as well not even be using the humidifier. And then there’s the temperature in the room. If it’s hot, it negatively affects using the humidifier, no matter what it’s on. The humidifier actually heats up the air you’re breathing, so if it’s cool you breathe the best, but the rest of you might not be too happy.

And of course there’s the noise. Initially you hear almost nothing, which works okay because I run a fan to help me get to sleep anyway. Later, once the pressure gets to maximum, you have to hear noise because the machine is making sure there’s no build up of carbon dioxide; wouldn’t pay to have the machine kill you when it’s purpose is to help you live longer. If you’re breathing properly the noise is minimal; if not, it’s much louder, and if you don’t like the sound you’ll go nuts. I like the sound so I always fall back to sleep like a baby.

The two major signs of sleep apnea, which the CPAP addresses, are that you always wake up tired, or you snore really loudly when you sleep. I was the first one, although my wife said I had times when I did snore loudly; that is, if I slept at all. If you have either of those on a consistent basis, go see someone for it and at least get tested. So many people said they couldn’t imagine wearing a mask while trying to sleep. Well I said the same thing about that as I did about injecting myself. You’ll try whatever you can to feel better.

Yes, I’ve gotten used to it; and I’m never going back from it again.

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Twitter Numbers; What The Hey?

I’ve been on Twitter almost 3 years now. When I first joined, if a person had a lot of followers they had just under 20,000 people. Now if you don’t have followers into the hundreds of thousands, you’re pretty much considered a loser.

I guess I’m a loser. I have around 2,700 followers, and I’m following just over 1,000 people at the same time. In general, I’m thinking that’s not a bad ratio, and for the most part I’m okay with those figures.

For the most part, that is. I get a lot of requests each day from people I’ve never heard of saying they’re following me and giving me the option of following them. Actually, I guess it’s more accurate to say Twitter sends me these messages. What I do is look through almost every one of them to see what these people are all about, and how they communicate with others.

You know what? For the most part they’re junk. I mean, sometimes you have a profile that had lots of messages with fewer than 10 words. Sometimes they’re only quotes; often they’re just sales messages. Most of the time they’re links or retweets. That’s certainly a lot of Twitter blather.

Nothing really wrong with that, I guess, but is it, well, social? Actually, let me go back and say there is something wrong with it. Something I don’t like is that I know that most of these people are automatically signing up with each other and not looking at anyone who’s following them. They may not ever even go to Twitter and read any messages; they may not ever respond to anyone who sends them a message. Instead, they just hook up with everyone else and end up with some fantastic numbers.

What kind of numbers? I regularly am being contacted by people with at least 5,000 people following them. Often I have people with more than 20,000 others following them. And you know what? Some of those have never even posted a single message; what the hey?

I’d be jealous if I really thought these people were popular. One of those interesting things is that these people end up with very high Klout scores, and maybe that’s one reason I’m not trusting Klout at all. I wish I could remember who did it, but one guy actually set up a false account with software and did an experiment where it automatically not only went out searching for people to follow but automatically followed anyone who followed the account. Within a week his new account had over 5,000 followers, and it hadn’t send out a single tweet. And that account’s Klout score was over 65; it was amazing.

He then set up the account to automatically start posting messages, which were all links, and within 3 days the follower count increased to 7,000, and at the end of the week the Klout score was around 75.

Frankly, if it’s that easy to game the system, I’m not sure I want to deal with it. Sure, I want more influence, but at what cost? Is one being influential if they’re actually talking to no one? And if one’s posts are being retweeted but none of those people are ever stopping to check out the links, then are you really influential or just feeling a false sense of the word?

By the way, this isn’t a Twitter bash. I have lots of fun on Twitter, and I know that by posting my blog links to it from time to time that I’ve encouraged people to stop by my blogs for a quick visit here and there. I will say, though, that I lament much of the technology that’s made it kind of a mess here and there by people who could care less.

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