Doing a live TV interview could be nerve wracking, particularly if it is your first time to do it.
But, if you prepare for it properly, doing a live TV interview could be a breeze. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
You may be wondering, how those TV anchors and their guests make it look so easy and natural when they talk for hours on end on live TV shows.
Well, you will be glad to know that there is really no secret to doing great TV interviews. All you need to do is to do it frequently and before you know it you will be smashing every TV interview you’ll make.
But if you are relatively new or if you are just about to do your first live TV interview, there are some things that will be helpful to keep in mind.
If you want to smash your live TV interviews, here are our top tips:
1. Get media training
A proper media training should prepare you for all aspects of a live TV interview such as:
- Interview topic – You should only talk about or be interviewed on topics you are familiar with. If you are not familiar with the proposed topic for an interview, it may be a good idea to decline it or to nominate someone else who is more familiar with the topic than yourself.
- Interviewer – Your media trainer should prepare you or at least give you some ideas on how to handle different styles of interviewing. Keep in mind that different news anchors and TV hosts have different styles of interviewing. With that in mind, you should at least watch some previous interviews done by whoever will be interviewing you. This will help you get a ‘feel’ for their style of interviewing.
- Venue – Whether you will be interviewed in your office, at a TV studio or somewhere outdoor, you should be prepared for the venue and situation. Each venue will present its own challenges and tricks that may impact your interview. For example, your office may be the safest and most convenient venue for an interview because you are familiar with it already. But if you will be interviewed in an outdoor area where there’s potential for distractions – e.g. noise, too many people – then you have to be prepared for such situation as well.
2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Remember those TV anchors and some of their guests who look so natural on TV? Well, the key to that natural look on TV is the fact that they have been doing TV interviews and been speaking in front of the camera for a long time.
Most TV anchors would have at least five years of daily TV camera experience behind them.
But for first timers or those who are relatively new to doing live TV interviews, there’s no substitute to doing rehearsals a few days before or even just a few hours before the actual interview.
Even if you spend about 20-30 minutes talking out loud in front of a mirror, that will be helpful. It is also helpful to find someone who can ask you some questions related to the topic you’re about to be interviewed on. Do some mock question and answer sessions with someone in your office.
We have done a lot of media training and have helped many executives prepare for their live TV interviews. And what we’ve found most helpful is the pre-interview question and answer session that we do with them just before the interview.
This is because asking them questions a few minutes before the interview helps them come up with the words and ways to phrase their answers for the actual interview.
It also helps to put them ‘in the zone’ as they would already be anticipating the questions rather than going straight to the interview without any preparation.
3. Keep it punchy and lively
Remember you will be on live TV and live TV means limited time. Many live TV interviews only go for 3-5 minutes, so you want to give succinct, sharp and concise answers.
You won’t have half an hour to elaborate on a topic when you’re on live TV. So, be mindful of the time limitation.
And as part of your rehearsal, try to prepare a few phrases or words that you want to include in your answers. This is where you need to remember that TV is about sound bites and entertaining visuals.
4. Dress properly
while there is no dress code as such for live TV appearances, there are some basic things that you have to consider when you do your live TV interview. Here are some tips and suggestions that we get from TV producers:
- Plain coloured dress and tops for women
- Avoid clothes with prints or designs that are too busy or distracting
- Plain and light coloured shirts and dark business jackets for men
- Avoid striped shirts or striped ties as they could appear fuzzy and distracting on TV
- Keep it simple and keep it neat
- Avoid wearing anything that will be too distracting for viewers
5. Get there on time
whether you’re being interviewed in your office or at the TV studio, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to be comfortable and at comfortable with the venue.
If you’re being interviewed in your office, sit or stand where you are most comfortable. Whether it be behind your desk, in a board room or the foyer, get yourself comfortable in that area.
If you’re going to the studio or somewhere not familiar to you, all the more that you have to give yourself time for travel. Consider the time it takes from your office to the studio and allow for traffic or any delay.
Ideally, you want to be at the TV studio about 15 minutes before you go on air. This will give you time to relax and settle a bit before you get into the flashing lights in the studio.
There is nothing worse than being interviewed when you are huffing and puffing or still wiping out sweat from your forehead.
These are just five of the most practical tips on how to do a smashing live TV interview. Whether you will be doing your first or hundredth live TV appearance, you can always refer to these tips to make your TV interview a smashing one.
And if you have some pointers and suggestions or tips that you can share with us about your live TV interview experience, feel free to contact us.