How to Be a Stellar Talk Show Guest

April 19, 2019

By Fran Capo

(Excerpts from her book, "The Ultimate Guide to getting yourself on Television, Radio and in Print")

If you want to get ahead in life you have to find a way to stand out. The same is true when you make an appearance on radio or TV to promote your brand or product. 

No, you will not have to shave your head, cheat to get into college or chant to the Dali Llama to get on a talk show.

I’ve been on over 5,000 radio and 450 television shows and am the adventure travel correspondent on the Donna Drake – Live it Up TV show seen in 66 million homes. I’ve never had to compromise myself or morals and I get asked to go back on shows over and over again.

I am a stand-up comic, (there are thousands), motivational speaker (tens of thousands), an author (millions of ‘em) and the Guinness Book of World Records Fastest Talking woman, (Ah ha! – only one of them!) Bingo.

So, am I saying you have to break a world record to get on a talk show? Nope. But I am saying that you have to have something that makes you unique and something that you are an expert at. You need a hook. That hook will get you on the show, and then you can promote your brand, your product, your book or yourself.

Did you write a book on finance? Then try to get on around April 15 pitching the idea of 5 tips to make tax time easier.  A book on shipwrecks? Get on around the time of the Titanic anniversary sinking. A book on humor? Try for April 1st. You get the point. Tie your expertise in what they are covering at the time in the media.

My fast talking hook landed me on the Carson Daly Show reading Eminem’s lyrics fast (where they also promoted my book), on the Late Show reading the whole side of a Chinese menu in under 20 seconds (which became a great promotional piece for my corporate package and landed me several commercials) and on the Dr. Oz Show giving tips on how to get rid of the hiccups, which led to more corporate bookings and doing a blog on Fran’s quick health tips.  (And of course, in each case lead to more sales of my books.) 

But what if you don’t have a specialty or hook? Make one up.

You mean lie? Nope. I mean, create one! There has to be something that you know a lot about or can at least talk about with interest or teach people. The fact that you are on this 48 Hr Books blog site hopefully means you wrote an entire book on a topic you know a lot about. Use it!

After doing talk shows for 20 years, I'm now a consultant for people who want to go down that path and compiled a book called, “The Ultimate Guide to getting yourself on Television, Radio and in Print” which has hundreds of tips and talks about everything from knowing your niche audience, to creating a hook, to writing a press release, to how to speak in sound bites, what to wear on camera, how to cheat to the camera, how to be an entertaining guest, follow-ups and of course tricks on how to get invited back on for more exposure.

Below are 10 quick Capo tips for being a great talk show guest from my book:

1)    Get a good night’s sleep the night before so you don’t look like something the cat dragged in on TV. 

2)    Eat before you go. You don’t want anything lurking in your teeth on camera, and you do not want your stomach rumbling or lipstick ruined before you go on.

3)    Arrive early to the set: If you are lucky, they will provide professional hair and makeup for you (yes, even for you guys.) If not, come “camera ready” so you look great on TV.

4)    Attitude: Smile (even if it’s a serious subject. You can be serious without being solemn. You can be confident but not conceited. Ordinary is boring, so speak your unique mind. Think ratings - they do!

5)    Relax. Be yourself and have a good time. Do not think about the audience. Think only about talking to the host; It’s a conversation between two people. Don’t fidget and make eye contact with the host.

6)    Humor:  Be a fun entertaining guest.  Everyone likes to laugh, and it usually gives you the upper hand. Most talk shows do not like to book authors because they perceive them as introverted and quiet, which does NOT make for great TV or radio guests. Remember these shows care about ratings, and they do not want you putting the audience to sleep or having them flip the channel.  Have a great short story to tell about your book, or the process of writing it, or how your family threatened to disown you if you “added that story in!” 

7)    Be an Expert: Know your subject. Have three key “messaging” points you memorized that you want to bring out. Think it through. Remember, you know more about your book than anybody else does.

8)    Stay on track: The host has their agenda and you have yours. Make sure you direct it back to what points you want to get out. Time on TV goes very fast.

9)    Packaging: It’s not so much what you sell but how you sell it. There are millions of sex therapists but only one 4’ 10” little person with a giggle, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who stood out for decades as the go-to lady on that topic. She got herself known in every household. So, package yourself well and remember to tell the host, or for you yourself, to say where your book is available. Repeat it and spell it if you have to.

10)    Remember the key rule of “Yes and…” on the airwaves. “Yes and” is the producers or talk show host’s dream answer. One-word answers are like a root canal without Novocain. It’s very painful and forces the host to have to work harder. Plus, it gives you more airtime. So, is this your first book?

“Yes and… I plan to write more….” HAVE FUN!  See you on TV.

Still reading? Okay so if you’re wondering how to get on a show in the first place, well that’s a topic for another day. But remember they need guests. They have 52 weeks a year to fill, and you can be a part of it. Just get your act together and take it on the show.

To get a step-by-step guide of how to appear on all these mediums, go to to order an autographed copy of “The Ultimate Guide to getting yourself on Television, Radio and in Print.” There is also my companion book, “The Humor Approach: Putting your Funny Side Up.” Stay tuned for Fran’s upcoming podcast on this and many more helpful tips, or tune into my monthly radio show called, “Fran’s World” on and also on the homepage of my website,


Fran Capo is a freelance writer, blogger, and 21-time author and skit writer.

She is also a comedienne, actress, adventurer, consultant, spokesperson, international motivational speaker, thought leader, radio host, and 6-time world record holder who has appeared on over 450 TV shows and 5,000 radio shows including, Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and Nickelodeon. She is most known as The Guinness Book of World’s Records Fastest Talking Woman clocked at 603.32 WPM - that’s 11 words a second! Her 20th book, “Hopeville: The City of Light” hit #11 on Amazon and reveals the 44 secrets of happiness and success.  She is currently the radio host on “Fran’s World” on, on the cover of Influential People Magazine and in the award-winning film, “Father and Father.” She’s done motivational speaking on every continent - even Antarctica! 

If you think you would make a good guest on my radio show email me and we’ll figure it out. Check out for more info.


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