Your PR rep has booked you on a local or national television show. Some people are naturals on the set; others may find television interviews a bit nerve-wracking. Here are some tips adapted from Susan Payton’s Vocus Blog. http://www.vocus.com/blog/10-tips-to-ace-your-first-television-interview/
- Choose Your Outfit Wisely
Now is not the time for that colorful checkered or striped shirt you just bought. Patterns render oddly on screen, and distract attention from what you’re saying. Instead, opt for bold and bright solid colors that warm up your skin tone. Stark blacks and whites may also cause a washed-out skin tone.
Keep accessories to a minimum. Women, apply makeup that will enhance your features. Your goal is to look good on screen without going overboard or detracting from your message. Both men and women can benefit from a light dusting of loose powder to keep the shine away.
- Practice Your Sound Bites
You know the topic of your interview, so spend time thinking about the key points you want to get across. And remember: even if you’re interviewed for 10 minutes, the news channel will likely whittle that down to just a minute or two. So keep your comments succinct, and work on developing “sound bites” or key points, that will leave viewers associating you with your message.
- Send Questions To Your Interviewer
If it’s an option, your PR rep will send the reporter or anchor who will be interviewing you some questions to ask that you’ve already got the answers to. This will guide the interview toward familiar waters and keep you from hemming and hawing while you think of a response.
- Body Language
You’ll likely be nervous or amped up during your interview, but strive not to let it show. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer and avoid glancing off set. Keep your hand gestures to a minimum. Keep them in your lap if they want to wander on their own. Keep your feet on the ground, or feet crossed away from the camera so that viewers don’t see the soles of your shoes.
- Slow Down Your Speech
People often speed up their speech whenever they get excited or nervous. Remember to pause, take a breath, and respond slowly and clearly.
- Practice Before The Interview
It can make you more comfortable if you practice a faux interview beforehand, either with your PR rep, a friend, or in front of a mirror. This can show you what you’ll look like to your audience and help you correct any issues like slumped posture.
- Engage Your Interviewer
You are having a conversation with your interviewer. Have good eye contact, listen carefully, smile when appropriate and respond to their questions in straight-forward manner. On old trick is to repeat the question at the start of your response as you gather your thoughts.
- Forget Your Audience
If the idea of thousands — or millions — of people watching you on television will send you into paralysis, don’t think about it (easier said than done, right?). Instead, focus on the fact that this interview is all about you and your topic and the person interviewing you. You’ll feel less pressure to perform well if you ignore the rest.
- Keep Your Answers Concise
You might want to wax on and on in response to an interview question, but resist. Give more than a “yes” or “no” response, but wait for the interviewer to ask more questions.
- De-Stress Just Before Your Interview
If you’re a nervous ball of energy before your interview, tense up all the muscles in your body for a few seconds, then release them. Practice deep breathing and calm thoughts, and you’ll do just fine!