5 things I learned during my first radio interview

5 things I learned during my first radio interview

Whenever anyone asks me to share my journey about starting Research Retold I’m usually very open.

Yet, when Jamie asked me to do this during the Business Live radio show I knew it would be a completely new experience.

In many ways, the radio interview felt like a conversation over coffee.

In other ways, knowing that 5000 people were listening made me *palm-sweating* type of nervous.

In this post I share the experience of having my first radio interview, how it happened and 5 things I learned from it.

But before I share that, let me turn back time a little bit…


My First Radio Interview - Mihaela Gruia

From child’s play to my first radio interview

You could say that my ‘media engagement strategy’ started early on. Although, of course, I did not call it that. When I was five years old, I remember sitting in this tiny blue canvas chair in front of my parent’s bedroom mirror pretending to be a TV presenter.

I imagined myself on camera, talking about important things on TV. I specifically had one presenter in mind, who at the time was very popular in Romania and always had this perfect bob haircut (a haircut I would only have 20 years later and which now I love).

Beyond the seriousness associated with TV presenters, I liked the idea of spreading a message widely and connecting with a large audience. Which is not a surprise thinking that one of my hobbies these days is filming and editing videos.

I first met Jamie Veitch during the Y-Accelerator programme in Sheffield. This was a 3-month programme for businesses in the Sheffield region that I attended in 2016. As part of the offering, we had the option to choose professional help on the programme for specific areas, such as marketing or sales.

I chose to get help with my pitch presentation and receive some much-needed marketing advice. Which is how I met Jamie, who ‘specialises in strategy, media and communications. Working with businesses and social enterprises, he provides mentoring and management consulting, PR and communications, marketing strategy and delivery, and undertakes research.

With an international portfolio, Jamie works for clients in multiple sectors and is a social enterprise and business mentor for The University of Sheffield and judge for the University of Sheffield Enterprise Awards. He also presents Sheffield Live’s weekly Business Live radio programme.’ (Keep Your Fork).

What was my first radio interview about?

In my first radio interview, I talked about effective communication of complex ideas, in the context of research, as well as policymaking, business and social enterprise.

The podcast and full shownotes are on Jamie’s website and on iTunes (released 14 2 2019).

My First Radio Interview - Mihaela Gruia

In a world of ‘fake news’ and disinformation, now more than ever we need robust evidence for decision-making and researchers and thinkers who can communicate their ideas effectively.

My memory of the interview is a blur, but based on the reaction of my husband, family, friends and online community, I did well!

According to Jamie, here is what I cover in this episode:

  • ‘Specific, clear guidance and advice about how to communicate complicated research findings – or complicated policy or business messages, more effectively.
  • Some examples of Universities Research Retold has worked with and the results of these collaborations.
  • Avoiding the risks of media misrepresentation of academic research by taking control of the narrative.
  • How to plan a great policy brief, including a simple structure to follow.
  • Transferable points about effective communication and dissemination, applicable to a wide variety of business and social enterprise leaders.
  • Her Guide to Communicating Research Beyond Academia and how to get a copy.
  • Mihaela’s own background studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield, gaining work experience in public affairs in Brussels and immersing herself in the effective communication of complex information.

How Mihaela founded Research Retold after a pitch at StartUp Weekend in Sheffield; support on the journey from the New Entrepreneurs Foundation and The University of Sheffield Enterprise, and the key critical success factor behind her business.’ (Jamie Veitch Consulting)

5 things I learned during my first radio interview

1. Eye contact matters

It was really important for me to get in the flow of the conversation to have eye contact with Jamie. Even though this part is obviously invisible to listeners, it makes a world of difference from the perspective of the guest and the host. Moreover, maintaining eye contact eases the nerves and makes the whole experience more relaxed and casual.

2. It helps to have a rough idea of the questions in advance

A day before the interview I asked Jamie what sort of questions he was thinking of asking me. I’m prepared to talk about my business even if you wake me up in the middle of the night, but given the short space of the show, I wanted to be as concise as possible and offer as much value to the listeners as possible. So I was glad to know roughly what questions would be asked and to have a few notes of points I didn’t want to forget because of nerves

3. You can’t drink in the radio room

Every single sound made in the radio room can be perceived by the microphones. Which is why we had to leave our glasses of water by the door. When I am nervous I get really thirsty so this made me a bit nervous, yet once I got in the groove of the show, I forgot about my thirst.

5 things I learned during my first radio interview Jamie Veitch Mihaela Gruia

4. Having a host who cares about the guest makes the world of a difference

Jamie and I have worked together and have a great working relationship. Yet, the fact that he cares about my work and Research Retold was evident in the way he engaged with my answers. He didn’t simply ask me a question, hear my answer and move on.

Instead, he engaged with my answer and even often completed it with information that I had forgotten to add myself; or he framed my answers in ways that added value to for his listeners. Again, it felt less like an interview and more like a conversation (over coffee, except there was no coffee because… point 3).

5. Use the opportunity to build other people up

The fact that I was on the show was such a big achievement for me. So I wanted to take it one step further and use the opportunity given to me to build other people up. Which is why when Jamie asked me what song I would like to play halfway through the show, instead of choosing a dead jazz player, I chose a Sheffield-born indie band who also happens to be one of my good friendn’s band: Dead Slow Hoot.

I chose the song ‘Everything Will Be OK’ which is definitely now the current national sentiment at the moment… You can listen to their new album ‘No reunions and the song I chose during the show on Spotify.

5 things I learned during my first radio interview Dead Slow Hoot


Have you listened to the show? What do you think? Would love to hear if you agree or disagree with any of the points made. Feel free to shoot me a tweet @researchretold with your thoughts 🙂

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