9 Tips on How to Look, Sound and Prepare for TV Interviews

Screenshot at Dec 16 12-37-02.pngYou’ve launched a new application. You’ve got this great PR person. You get a call from your local TV station telling you that you’re invited to come into their studio for a 3 minute interview.  Now what?  This is exactly what happened over the course of the last 2 weeks. If you don’t believe me…here’s the link: bit.ly/1YfCg6c.  If you’re on TV, given the nature of our online world, it will forever exist in archives. People can share it, view it, like it and/or comment on it. This is a shining moment for you! You have the opportunity to discuss what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and why others should buy your product or agree with your point of view. I make no claims of perfection. Watching it over, there are definitely a few things I would do differently. I’m a huge fan of action followed by an evaluation of those actions. What did I do? What did I do well? What can I do better next time?

Now that the experience has come and gone, here are my tips on how to do well on TV.

How You Look

  1. Wear Clothing That Makes You Feel Good About Yourself

Stay away from patterns (plaid, stripes, zigzags). Choose comfortable clothing that showcases the real “you.” To make a slightly more formal statement, a suit and tie or blouse and skirt is perfect. Keep jewellery to a minimum. Feeling good about yourself is key. Make no mistake, how you dress, impacts how you feel which impacts the entire interview.

  1. Mom Was Right: Sit Up Straight

The camera exaggerates everything because there is nothing to distract the viewer. If your posture is poor, viewers will think you’ve checked out and lost interest. Your body should convey your energy and intelligence without being stiff and robotic.

  1. Watch Those Hands

Simple… find a good place for your hands so they aren’t distracting to viewers.

  1. Smile With Your Eyes

A warm and genuine smile does wonders for coming across as sincere and confident. But flashing those pearly whites is only part of the key to smiling. The eyes can dictate whether a smile is real or forced. When watching my interview over again, I noticed immediately that the first smile I gave (that awkward long one) was forced and distracting to look at.

How You Sound

  1. Use Your Natural Voice.

While some of us admit to practicing our news anchor voices, leave that “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America” voice at home. Be yourself and speak to the camera like it was your best friend. Not only is it more natural, but it’s what people expect. You want your video to reflect who you are, not Brian Williams.

  1. It’s How You Say It

You know what you’re talking about. So focus on how you deliver the goods. Pacing matters. If you rush through your spiel, you throw away your credibility. Choice of words is also key. Simple and clear beats a multisyllabic mouthful any day. Enunciate and avoid slang at all costs. Shakespeare didn’t write, “ta be or not ta be, dude.”

How To Prepare

  1. Practice Makes Perfect

While I’m certain there are other groups, Toastmasters, for me, simply works. I’ve had the opportunity to achieve my Competent Communicator title (which means I’ve given 10 speeches and been evaluated) and I had a one year role as the President of the Sudbury Noon Hour Toastmasters Club. Committing to being the best representative possible for my company, off the cuff and when provided with a heads up, is what drives me to continue to practice and hone my skills as a speaker.

  1. Keep It Moist

A dry mouth is the enemy of talking. Get that frog out of your throat with a sip of water. If you’re given a longer window to speak, taking a water break can also be a way to step away from the camera and calm your nerves.

  1. Breathing Is Good

Not only is it essential for life, but breathing is also necessary to be awesome on camera. Take deep breaths before you go live, and continue to breathe easily when the camera’s on. If you find yourself breathing or talking too quickly, it’s time for a pause.


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