Appearing on TV for the first time is a stressful as well as an exciting experience. Being interviewed by a journalist live, for example on a 24-hour news channel, can be equally daunting. Often you only have a short window of opportunity to get your message across, so a little preparation can go a long way to making that interview a success.
Here are our top tips for getting it right on the day:
- What You Wear Matters
Most veterans of TV interviews will tell you that clothing is important. For instance, don’t go for stripes or checks or lots of jewellery. They will not only deflect attention from what you are trying to say, they also appear a little odd on a TV screen. There’s no problem with going for bold, solid colours but generally, don’t have too much going on with your clothing.
If you are wearing makeup, slightly stronger colours can work better on TV but, again, try not to go overboard. When in doubt, tone it down. After all, it’s what you say which is going to be important, not what you are wearing.
- Rehearse Your Responses
You are obviously going to have some idea what the interview will be about (if not, ask). Prepping some stock answers, therefore, is a good idea.
While you want your responses to seem natural, a few good sound bites here and there can work wonders. Practice ahead of time is always a good idea. You can either do it with a colleague or in a mirror. Work on keeping your answers short – more than simple yes or no but avoid going into over complicated explanations or veering off the main point.
- Body Language and Speech
One thing people often find difficult to control in a TV interview situation is body language. When you’re nervous all sorts of unwanted ticks and movements can creep in.
Focus on maintaining eye contact with the interviewer and don’t start glancing around as it can make you look evasive when the TV camera is directly on you. Also, try to keep your hand and arm movements to a minimum as these can also be exaggerated by the camera.
It’s tempting to start talking quickly when you are asked a question. You want to get your point across and remember everything you need to say. Make a conscious effort to slow down your speech a little, however, and make sure you breathe normally as you talk.
- Listen Properly
When you’ve finished answering a question, remain attentive. Continue to concentrate on the interviewer and show that you are interested in their questions. Don’t forget, cuts of interviews may show you listening as well as responding.
- How to Stay Stress-Free
Finally, try to relax. It’s not always easy. Whether it’s deep breathing or a bit of yogic stretching beforehand, try to find something that puts you in the right frame of mind. Concentrate fully on the interviewer and forget that anyone might be watching you.
Preparing yourself properly for a TV interview includes making sure you attend regular media skills training so you will be able to perform well when called upon.