By Chanda Temple
You’ve booked a live, on-air interview for television. But are you truly ready for the lights, camera and action? Here are some tips to help prepare you:
- Don’t say, “Um”
- Do you know what you sound like when you are talking? Do you have a tendency to say , “um?’’ If you don’t know, record yourself with a smartphone, video recorder or tape recorder. If you say, “Um’’ more than twice, chances are that you say it a lot. One quick way to kill the “ums’’ is that when you feel it coming on, take a pause and then start talking again. When we say, ‘’um,’’ it’s because we are thinking about what to say next or we are looking for a transition. When we say it a lot, people focus more on our “ums,’’ rather than our message.
- Be prepared
Ask the reporter or producer what will be discussed. Once you have an idea, practice your comments. Do additional research to make sure you give accurate and updated information. But don’t practice so much that you sound stiff.
- Find out how long the segment will be
Most live television interviews are only a few minutes. For taped segments, they are just a few seconds. Make sure your comments are concise, punchy and don’t go on and on. Be conversational.
- Remove anything that’s distracting
Don’t wear bangles or dangling earrings. They are distracting. If you have a Bluetooth in your ear, remember to remove it. If you are doing a live Skype or Podcast interview, make sure the recording is not in a room where your dog may start barking or a baby may start crying.
- Stay stationary
Some stations have those big, cushy chairs that swivel. When you sit in one, you are tempted to move to the left to the right. Resist that temptation and just remain stationary. When you swivel from side to side, it causes the viewer to focus more on your motions than your words.
If you don’t smile when you talk, start practicing now. A smile helps you come across as more likable. Plus, a smile reads well on video.
- Be aware of your colors
Some colors and prints work better on television than others. Houndstooth, stripes, herringbone and plaids can give a harsh read on television. Avoid them. A good safe color for all skin types is blue. Red looks good on African-American or brown-skinned women. Bright colors such as orange and yellow on women are good. Black and white are easy to wear in everyday living, but they aren’t the best choices television. White business shirts tend to glow on television. Black gives a harsh read.
- Practice your posture
Find out if you’ll be standing or sitting during the interview. Be sure you are sitting up straight and not slumping. The smallest slump will make you look sloppy.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business, building buzz and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple.