Archive for December, 2010

Look good on TV: even if its your first time

Man on the street: Often times people will have no preparation for a TV interview.

The average person has little or no experience being interviewed for TV. People who are TV savvy and camera ready are a minority; to many others TV interviews can be intimidating. It’s usually a first time for many who are called upon to be interviewed for local news stories, community shows, and sometimes even network programs. If a person is nervous while being interviewed on camera, chances are, they won’t like what they see when they watch the show. Any anxiety may show or even be amplified on camera. The results could be regrettable. That nervousness could further affect how well a person answers questions or may cause them to neglect relevant facts during the interview.

Being interviewed for television doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are some simple things you can do to prepare that may help you to look like you’ve been doing on-camera interviews for years. According to several professionals in the television industry, preparation of every detail, both small and large, can make your interview easier to do and look more professional. It may sound complicated but it’s actually common sense. To be regarded as a creditable source, be prepared and know the information you’re being interviewed about. To look more natural, be conscious of your mannerisms while on camera. To help you feel more comfortable with your appearance, take the time to look your very best. This has become more important now than ever before. Advances in technology also have consequences; it’s called “High Definition”. You may enjoy watching HD TV, until you’re on one. HD cameras reveal every little detail about your appearance.

You can’t be over prepared for the topic of the interview. The more prepared you are the more you know your material. This rule is paramount because it’s a major factor in projecting a knowledgeable and confident image. This can help to establish credibility and make you more believable to viewers. Have you ever watched someone during an interview and they stumble, repeat “ah”, or hesitate while answering questions? You may have even thought they weren’t forthcoming or didn’t know the information. A sure way to be regarded as a trustworthy source is to know the topic in explicit detail. Practice responding to questions several times. You may not know what questions will be asked during the interview. Memorize the topic’s history and statistics. This will help to have information accessible which can be customized to answer spontaneous questions.

Try not to respond to questions with a fast pace. Speaking rapidly can make you difficult to understand. When answering questions, use a natural pace you’re comfortable with. Unless warranted, avoid lengthy explanations. Try to keep your answers short. Respond with five to ten second answers, followed by several facts or short sentences that reinforce what you’ve said. A universal rule applies here, “Keep it simple”. Viewers will have a better understanding and remember more information from your interview. Also, producers will sing your phrases in the edit suite. Shorter responses will make your interview much easier to edit.

Mannerisms are the non-verbal actions you use during the interview. Some of these motions could be habits you’re not aware of. Avoid sudden movements or exaggerated gestures. Simple movements like nodding the head or slight use of your hand can be effective and give you a relaxed appearance. Don’t be afraid to move, but don’t move too much. You may want to practice using gestures while watching yourself in a mirror.

Appearance has taken on new meaning thanks to modern technology. High definition cameras show even the smallest of details. Assume all viewers are watching on big screens and will see everything. You may have missed those nose hairs when you looked in the mirror this morning, the HD camera won’t miss them or anything else. That camera can be your best friend or worst enemy so be sure to get plenty of sleep for least three consecutive nights prior to the interview. If you are rested, refreshed, and ready, it will show on camera. If you are fatigued with bags under your eyes, that will show on camera as well. Don’t get a haircut the day before your interview.  When you first get your haircut the hair is not trained to that style. It is better to get your haircut a week in advance.

If you wish to be revered as professional and a credible source, do not wear wrinkled, tattered, or faded clothing. Take the time to have your clothes laundered and pressed. You may ever want to have them dry-cleaned before your interview. Think twice before you wear any trendy clothes. These items usually don’t stay in style for long. It’s important to choose colors carefully and don’t let them distract from you. What you see in the mirror might not be what you see on TV. It’s better to stay away from bright colors, patterns, or stripes. Some video equipment doesn’t like patterns or stripes. Take extra time to groom and examine yourself. When you think you’re finished, do it again. Have someone else check you over before the interview. Others may catch little details you’ve missed.

These “tricks of the trade” can make your TV interview easier and be more rewarding. You’ll look and sound great. It’s not rocket science, just some basic common sense. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and relax. Have confidence in yourself and remember; what you have to say is important, that’s why you are being interviewed.


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