8 Secrets to Success for TV Interviews
By Cynthia Wright
You may be asked to complete a two-minute pre-recorded news interview or appear on a live show for twenty minutes; preparing for these interview opportunities is essential.
Carriage Trade Public Relations™ and Cecilia Russo Marketing offer eight insights to ensure your success on camera:
1. Choose Your Outfit Wisely
Avoid distracting patterns or prints. We recommend bold/bright solid colors. A classic white, blue or black works well. Keep accessories to a minimum. Big, chunky or dangling jewelry can be distracting. For makeup, apply slightly bolder than you might wear day-to-day and darker lipstick. Do not wear anything too short as you may be seated on a low sofa.
2. Practice Your Sound Bites
Spend time thinking about the key points you want to get across. Practice with your media consultant answering questions. Studies have found that the average TV soundbite is around seven seconds long. Even if you’re interviewed for 10 minutes, the news station will likely edit the footage down to just a minute or two. On live interviews, the time goes much quicker than you realize; try to get all of the vital information out early. Concentrate on three points that you want to get across, and additional information will be a bonus.
3. Control Your Body Language
You’ll likely be nervous or very excited during your interview; relax. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer and avoid glancing offset. Hand gestures can help you make your point but try not to use them excessively. Cross your legs at the ankles rather than the knees. Leaning in towards the interviewer looks more flattering than leaning away from the camera. Appear confident.
4. Slow Down Your Speech
Most people speed up their speech whenever they get excited or nervous, and sometimes this makes it very hard for the viewer to follow along. If you feel yourself speeding up, pause, take a breath, and respond slowly and clearly. This will give you time to think about what you are saying, and help you avoid those awkward “ums” and “ahs.”
5. Practice Ahead of Time
It can make you more comfortable if you practice a faux interview beforehand, either with a friend or in front of a mirror. Use a stopwatch. Film yourself and re-watch your session. This will give you an idea of how your body language comes across.
6. Forget Your Audience
If the idea of thousands of people watching you on television terrifies you, don’t think about it. Instead, focus on the fact that this interview is a conversation between you and the interviewer. Make and hold eye contact. Focus on the person asking the questions and not on the camera. The more your eyes move around, the more uncomfortable your audience will become.
7. De-stress Just Before You Go On
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. Close your eyes and breathe for a few seconds. Turn off your cell phone and remove any coins from your pockets. Absolutely no gum!
8. Arrive Early
Arrive at least 30 minutes early. This will give you time to relax and get used to the environment. If you rush in, the interview will come across as distracted which will reflect poorly on you.
BONUS TIP: If you are able to interject some appropriate humor, that will help make the conversation more enjoyable for the viewing audience. For most interviews, the idea is to keep things light. This can help, at times, even if the discussion is about a serious matter.
Most importantly of all, just enjoy it. It is a wonderful opportunity for anyone to get their name and business out there.
Cynthia Wright is the Junior Partner of Carriage Trade Public Relations™, Inc. and Cecilia Russo Marketing, specializes in reputation management. For more information, contact Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org