Even if you have experience in dealing with the media, if you’ve never gone through a TV interview it can be a little daunting but if you get it right it’s a great opportunity for positive coverage. We’ve put together these top tips to help you perfect your preparation and performance in TV interviews.
- Audience; adapt your messages, evidence and language according to the broadcaster and viewers you are speaking to.
- Research; find out as much as you can about the format, as well as the interviewer/producer and the questions they want to ask you (your PR team will help with this).
- Be concise; you can’t know for certain how long a live interview will be, ensure you can condense your story or message down, to communicate it in a limited amount of time.
- Add colour; use ‘real’ stories, evidence and statistics to illustrate what you say – content that ‘paints a picture’ works very well in broadcast.
- Practice; the only way to make sure you are ready to communicate your messages is to have a dress rehearsal – get a media trainer or colleague to test your answers to the negative questions that could come up.
- Don’t rush; if you are going to a studio, try and get there early to get used to the room and collect your thoughts.
- Make-up; the bright studio lights mean that if you are offered make-up it’s often a good idea to accept it.
- Distractions; most TV studios are busy places, with people rushing around and equipment stacked everywhere – try to ignore the commotion around you.
- Jargon; use simple language that all viewers will be able to understand – don’t assume the audience will know the acronyms you use day-to-day.
- Body language; think about your posture and hand movement, ideally film yourself in advance to make sure you are using an open stance, that won’t distract the viewer – add a smile where appropriate.
- Eye-contact; keep looking at the interviewer if you are sitting across from them, otherwise if it’s a down-the-line interview, make sure you focus on the camera lens.
- Voice; speaking clearly and slowly enough is essential but as TV tends to flatten the voice, you will also need to add extra volume/emphasis into the performance.
- Pauses; taking a breath can help your point sink-in but it will also give you a moment to gather your thoughts – don’t feel you have to fill the airspace if you’ve successfully delivered your messages.
- Parroting; be careful about repeating the journalist’s negatives or language you don’t agree with – reword it in a way you are comfortable with.
- Stick to your agenda; don’t get pulled away from your messages and be firm if you feel you are being pushed to give an answer on a topic you can’t discuss.
- Recording; assume the camera is always on you and don’t get up to leave until you are given the ‘all clear’ to do so.
Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.com – February 2016