Five more things to know about television interviews

By Chanda Temple

Be prepared before you do that TV interview.  Image by Barend en Barend via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Be prepared before you do that TV interview.
Image by Barend en Barend via Flickr/CreativeCommons


Yesterday, I posted eight things you need to know about doing a live television interview. I received great feedback and decided to post a few more tips. Here they are:

  • Toss the gum 

This should go without saying, but it still needs to be mentioned. If you have gum in your mouth, get rid of it before you appear on television, radio, a podcast or a video. You can’t hide it.

Recently, Paula Deen was interviewed about a new website she was going to launch. She did the whole interview with a piece of gum in her mouth. I saw it. I can’t recall everything she said in the interview, but I do remember that gum in her mouth.

  • Don’t talk when the reporter or host is talking

When we have a conversation with friends, we sometimes cut them off if we want to make a point. While our friends may understand our excitement about a topic, such a move doesn’t play well on television. When this happens on television, you now have two people talking and it’s hard to hear what both are saying. A better approach is to let the reporter ask questions and then you respond. If you catch yourself talking when the reporter is talking, find a way to ease up so only one person can be heard. Then go back in to make your point.

  •  Make eye contact with the reporter 

If you are doing a live taping in a television studio, look at the reporter and not the camera. When you look at the camera, it comes across as awkward because you are tempted to look at the teleprompter and not the actual lens. When you look at the teleprompter, you appear as though you are looking down. If you don’t know how it will look to viewers, play it safe and just look at the reporter.

  •  Make sure your clothes fit and are clean

To prepare for the interview, sit on a couch or chair while in front of a mirror at home or the office.  How does your outfit look? For women, if the neckline is plunging, find another top. For both sexes, if the jacket or shirt sleeves are too long or there’s a big gap in the fit on the torso, get another jacket or shirt. Your attire should have a good fit and be free of stains and holes. For both sexes, be sure your shoes are shined and free of holes. The camera could pan down to your feet.

Women, if you wear sandals on air, make sure you have had a pedicure. Look at your clothes and hair from the back and sides. How do they look? Sometimes, a cameraman will do a side or back shot of you. You want to make sure that you look good from all angles. For women, be sure to wear a good-fitting bra to uplift you and a body slimmer to smooth out the bumps.

  • Shape up your nails and socks

Sometimes, a camera may zone in on your hands. You want to make sure you don’t have chipped nail polish or rugged cuticles. A manicure can solve that. Men, wear over-the-calf socks so your legs are covered when you sit down for an on-air interview. Seeing hairy legs peeping from the leg of your business suit is not becoming. It’s rather distracting.

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 Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple



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