Media Training

Tips for Going On Camera

You're scheduled to conduct your first television interview and you're more than a little nervous. That's understandable -- television interviews can be tricky. But these steps will help you make the most of your broadcast interview opportunity.

A television interview can be an open door for communicating your company's messaging to the public.

Some business leaders are uncomfortable giving interviews because television is an unfamiliar medium. But by avoiding interviews, they miss out on a unique opportunity to paint a positive visual picture for their business.

A TV interview really isn't a fair fight. Television journalists spend their lives in front of the lens. If you're lucky, you'll conduct a handful of television interviews over the span of your entire career. But whether the interviewer is a friend or foe, there are several things you can do to enhance your performance in a television interview.

For starters, you'll want to follow these essential tips for going on camera:

  • Stay on message. When you go on camera, your most critical priority is to stay on message and emphasize several key points you develop before the interview. If the interviewer throws you a curve ball politely address his question, but quickly bring the conversation back to your points.
  • Focus on the interviewer. When you're conducting a face-to-face interview focus your attention on the interviewer rather than the camera. Journalists and viewers tend to equate a lack of focus with evasiveness. If the interview is being conducted remotely (i.e. the interviewer is in a different location) focus on the camera lens.
  • Offer sound bites. Sound bites are the currency of news reporting. A great sound bite is almost always survives the editing process, so be prepared to communicate your major points in sound bite form. At the same time, be careful not to give the interviewer sound bites that convey a negative image of your company.
  • Watch your nonverbal cues. What you do is almost as important as what you say in a TV interview. If you act distracted or fidgety it can have negative consequences. Even if you can't wait for the interview to end, make an effort to appear relaxed and paste a smile on your face throughout the interview.
  • Dress appropriately & wear makeup. Carefully consider your interview attire. In general, solid colors that emphasize blues and browns are the most lens-friendly option. White shirts and patterns, on the other hand, are the least lens-friendly. Also, both men and women commonly wear makeup for television interviews.

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