Ever wonder why newscasters are so composed in front of the camera? Preparation of course! Being prepared BEFORE you step in front of the camera is as important as knowing what to say when the cameras are rolling.

Whether it’s your first interview or your 100th, it doesn’t hurt to consider the following things prior to getting in front of the camera:

  • Have a plan: Do not “wing it” when it comes to television interviews. Practice speaking in front of a mirror to understand your facial expressions and hand movements. Ask a trusted friend who will provide constructive feedback to role play interviewing you and give you honest suggestions on improving your presence. Part of your plan should include talking points.
  • Talking points: Have a set of bullet points relevant to your story memorized and ready to discuss with the reporter. Know your message and repeat it until you feel comfortable with it. You can also share your talking points with the reporter. It gives them the context for the interview and educates them on your positon. Not all reporters have time to get up to speed on your industry or event.
  • Live vs. taped: Find out if your interview will be live or taped before you get in front of the camera. Taped interviews will likely be edited to a shorter version. Your talking points should be shorter (5 to 15 seconds) and phrased as “sound bites” or quick pieces of information. If the interview is live, be conscious of using filler words like “um” or “like” too often. You also won’t be able to stop the interview to redo anything so know your message inside and out.
  • Appearance: What you wear is just as important as what you say during the interview. Before stepping in front of the camera, make sure you look professional. Wear garments that reflect your profession (doctor’s coat, police uniform, businessperson), apply make-up slightly heavier than normal for ladies, and men should apply make-up so as to not appear pale. Wear collared shirts that a microphone can easily be clipped to and no sunglasses, stripes, white shirts or sexy attire.
  • Audience: What audience will you be speaking to with this reporter? Is it the right audience who fits your core market? Before getting in front of the camera, consider researching the most common potential viewer of this segment. It may not change your decision to conduct the interview but you will at least be able to evaluate its effectiveness more accurately and set expectations realistically for how the segment may impact your business. And there is value in having exposure to a new market that you may not have previously considered!

Interviews can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Consider a few of these tips before you get in front of the camera and you should be feeling more confident than ever to answer any and all questions a reporter throws your way.

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