Becoming Camera Ready
Tips for Mastering TV Interviews
With today’s 24-hour news cycle, media outlets are always seeking original news angles, or looking for an opportunity to localize a national story. As such, they rely on local experts to add credible content to their segments. Also, with the prevalence of podcasts, online interviews are all the rage—mainly because popular topics and great interviews help build huge audiences.
If you frequently write or blog about trends and developments in your industry, and have established yourself as an authoritative leader in your field, you could be an ideal guest for your local news program or a popular podcast.
The question is, “Are you camera ready?”
If leveraging the media is part of your marketing strategy, and your answer is “no,” now is the time to get ready. To offer our assistance, here are a few tips to consider before you show up for that first TV interview:
Becoming known as an industry leader or television consultant also means looking the part. Most viewers say that appearance counts when it comes to TV anchors and their guests. Although there is more to your interview than your appearance, looking your best doesn’t hurt. Presenting a professional image will allow viewers to concentrate on what you are saying, rather than being distracted by what you are wearing.
Start by wearing attire that is appropriate for your industry. If you are an attorney, dress like an attorney—a suit (or sport coat) and tie are expected. If you own a landscaping company, a suit may not be the right wear for you, but business casual attire will send the right message. After all, you are a business owner.
Do Your Homework
When presented with the chance to appear on a TV program, this is the time to showcase your expertise. You don’t want to squander this opportunity by coming across as a novice. Thoroughly research the topic in advance, and prepare two or three critical points to highlight. Remember, viewers want to hear the facts, not an unsubstantiated opinion. When you provide proof that supports your argument, viewers will take you seriously. Integrate statistics into your messaging. Citing solid statistics along with anecdotal data gives you credibility.
Speak in Sound Bites
Since television segments are brief and fast paced, you must be clear and concise during your interview. In your preparation, draft solid points that you want to make and be ready to deliver them like a pro. This means mastering the art of speaking in sound bites. Prior to your interview, practice responding to the reporter’s questions. Sometimes reporters will provide a list of prepared questions prior to the show. Study these questions and prepare your answers beforehand.
Develop Your Personal TV Style
As you participate in subsequent on-camera interviews, you will eventually develop your own style. As you work towards that end, keep the following tips in mind:
- Guard against maintaining a monotone voice by inflecting and deflecting your tone appropriately during the conversation. Use pauses strategically and stay away from the dreaded “uh” or “um” as much as possible.
- Be mindful of your body language and keep hand gestures to a minimum.
- Maintain good posture and lean in towards the interviewer to show that you are fully engaged in the conversation.
- Relax! Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Take a deep breath before the interview and imagine that only you and the news anchor or program host are in the room.
- Wear clothing that fits properly. Solid colors are always a safe choice, as print designs don’t project well on television and can be distracting for the viewer.
- Ensure that your hair and makeup are in stellar condition.
- Avoid wearing branded attire. This is probably not the time to wear the polo shirt with your company logo on it.
A successful TV or podcast interview can give your company the visibility it needs to build brand recognition. The key, however, is preparation. Before you trek down to the television station, make sure that you are in a position to impart valuable information to viewers while building a name for your company.