Landing a television interview is a promotional coup that’s your chance to reveal to the world – or at least a portion of it – your charm, wit and intelligence while promoting your business, your book or product, but most importantly, yourself.
Before you get too caught up reveling in the moment, though, you need to remember that now is when your work really begins.
You don’t want to blow this great opportunity.
But believe me, you could – easily. It’s common to be thrown off by seemingly simple questions from the host, or to become dazzled and distracted by the lights, cameras and action all around in the TV studio.
It’s important to understand what to do and what not to do to make your TV interview a successful one.
To help get you on the right track, I asked Heather Gordon, our TV campaign manager, for tips to share with you on how to make the most of your TV appearance. From what to wear to how to move, Heather had plenty to say:
- Be properly attired. Avoid wearing white, bright colors or busy patterns. The best bet is to keep it simple and to err on the side of solid, darker colors. Be careful about loose jewelry that might make a clacking noise or bang against the microphone as you move. In general, a good idea is to dress professionally, the way you would for a job interview. “You don’t want what you’re wearing to distract from your message,” Heather says. “Unless, of course, your message is fashion.”
- Act naturally. If your interview happens at the TV studio, there likely will be lots of cameras and perhaps people moving about off camera. Ignore all of it. Also, don’t talk to the camera. Instead, focus on the host, treating that person like a friend you’re having a nice chat with. Speak clearly, but not that loudly. The production crew will ask you to do a microphone check ahead of time. It’s important that you speak during the check with the same voice level you plan to use during the interview.
- Be prepared for anything. You will have a limited time to present your message, so outline in your mind the specific points you want the audience to take away from your interview. But – and here’s where it can get tricky – be flexible and understand that you might not get to say everything you wanted. Don’t concentrate so much on a predetermined script that you ignore a question from the host. That will make the host uncomfortable, which will come across to the viewers. You don’t want to alienate either the host or the audience.
Also, don’t try to stop the interview if you stumble. They aren’t doing multiple takes. The interview will either be live or live to tape. The latter means that, although it’s being taped to be shown later, the TV crew is treating it as if it’s live. “You can’t start over,” Heather says.
- Bring your book. If you’ve written a book, bring a copy so it can be displayed on screen. Bring extra copies for the producer and the host. Remember, though, that’s it’s your responsibility, not the host’s, to mention your book on air and, if possible, to let viewers know where they can purchase it. Preferably, that will be Amazon.com, because that’s the easiest place for viewers to remember, Heather says.
- Be flexible. Your segment could be reduced in length or eliminated if there is breaking news. Once again, it’s important to be flexible because all may not be lost. The producer might say the station can tape the interview to be aired at a later time. Or the producer might ask if you can come back at another time. “The more flexible you are, the better,” Heather says.
- Stop right there. Any movements you make will be evident on the camera, so don’t sway or nervously tap your foot. Hand gestures are OK, but don’t overdo them. Certainly, you don’t want to come off as rigid, but too much movement will be a distraction and could make you appear nervous. The best approach is to try to come across as friendly and relaxed, smiling occasionally as you chat with the host.
Finally, Heather says, arrive at the station early, especially if there is going to be any setup involved for your segment.
“You don’t want to be too much earlier than when they told you to arrive, but you do want to be early enough to get prepared,” she says.
Plus, your early arrival can spare the TV producer unnecessary anxiety. The last thing a nervous producer wants is for there to be no sign of the guest as air time approaches.
Ready to go live!
P.S. If you need help getting local and national TV coverage, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 211