Getting a call from a reporter requesting a TV interview is a great opportunity to get exposure for your brand or business. However, it can be a nerve-racking experience if you are not prepared to go on-camera. You can manage your nerves by following these 7 tips:
1. Ask the right questions.
Find out from the reporter as much information as possible about the interview. Questions to include are:
Where will the interview take place (in-studio or at another location)?
How long will it last?
Is it live or will it be taped?
Once you have these questions answered, you will get a better idea of what to expect before the camera starts rolling.
You are likely being asked to be interviewed because you are an expert in your field or you have something interesting to say about current events. Come prepared (but not rehearsed) with 3 messages that you want to share. Tips for practicing include:
Speaking out loud in front of a mirror
Recording your points on your phone and playing it back
Reviewing your messages with a colleague, friend or relative
Don't forget, an interview is not a commercial for your brand or business. You are being interviewed to share your point of view on the story topic.
3. Dress for the part.
Sometimes you will not get a lot of advance notice to do an interview. This is because the reporter might have a deadline with a quick turnaround and will need to grab a clip from you within the hour. Always have these items in your office or car so you are ready when the call comes in:
A solid colour shirt or dress (avoid black and white)
A funky necklace to add colour and dimension to your outfit
Make-up essentials - face powder, matte lipstick and mascara at a minimum
A hair brush as well as a clip or hair elastic for windy days
Remember, looking your best on camera makes a good impression and says lot about your brand or business. Think carefully about how you want to represent yourself, keeping in mind where the show will be aired and if it will be shared on social media channels.
4. Engage in small talk with the reporter.
Take advantage of the few minutes you will have with the reporter off-camera while the shot is being set up. Finding something other than the interview topic to chat about is a great way to put yourself at ease. You can comment on something as simple as the weather (Canadians are famous for this!) or the local sports team.
Conversing ahead of the interview will encourage a more natural conversation to continue once the record button is pressed.
5. Listen actively.
When the interview starts, stay in the moment and try not to get distracted by the camera and the lights. You have a better connection with the reporter and it will help you understand what is being asked. If you don't understand the question, repeat it back to the reporter for clarification. This technique gives you time to formulate an answer.
6. Speak slowly.
One of the biggest indicators of nervousness is speaking too quickly. Remind yourself to take a breath and slow down. Don't be scared to pause for a few seconds before answering the question. It may feel like an eternity, but a short pause is more natural than it feels.
7. Keep going.
It's normal to fumble over your words at times, but just keep on speaking. You won't be able to ask the reporter to start over again. This is especially true if the interview is live and not taped, so just treat every interview as if it were live.
Now that you know 7 ways to stay calm during your next TV interview, I want to hear from you. What other techniques have helped you prepare for an interview?
Share your thoughts below!