Appearing on television can be a strange experience. Being well prepared, especially for your first television interview can help take some of the mystery and strangeness out it. Here are some tips that will help prepare you for your big debut.
· Know Your Stuff! Make sure that you know in advance what the topic of the interview will be so you can prepare some responses to questions that may be asked. Some producers will tell you ahead of time what they plan to ask; others may ask you for a list of questions on the subject you are speaking about.
· Learn to speak in “sound bites.” Attention spans are short, so you need to be brief in your responses. Be prepared to respond to questions using “sound bites” A sound bite is a short message, often no longer than 10 words, that describes the main idea of your content. If the person interviewing you wants you to expound on your answer, he/she will ask you follow up questions.
· Arrive Early. Avoid unnecessary stress before your interview by allowing plenty of extra time to get there. You are far better off waiting in a local coffee shop or in the TV studio lobby or green room, then being in your car stressing over bumper-to-bumper traffic 15 minutes before your scheduled air time.
· Bring Makeup. Most major networks and larger television stations will have a makeup artist. Ask in advance whether there will be one or not. You should bring your own makeup and hair products either way, just to be safe.
· Look in the mirror. Check yourself in the mirror before your interview begins. You don’t want to have lipstick on your teeth or food stuck in them.
· Check your microphone and test your earpiece. You will often wear a lapel microphone during your interview. Make sure it isn’t brushing against your clothing so you sound ruffled. You may also get an earpiece. Test it to make sure the volume is right so that any issues can be fixed before you go on the air.
· Turn off your cell phone. You don’t want your cell phone going off during your interview. It could also interfere with the audio. Power it off completely.
· Turn the monitor off. TV monitors are set with a slight delay. This may be distracting so ask the crew to turn them off or turn them away from you.
· Beware of the split screen. In some formats you will appear on camera even though you are not speaking. A split screen shows your reactions and those of others during the interview. Carry yourself as if you are always on camera, taking care not to wipe your face, adjust your hair or fix your outfit during your segment.
· Restrict head nodding. Although it is normal to nod when you are listening to someone, it can also send the wrong message if you disagree with a comment. Listen attentively but only nod if you agree.
· Avoid props. If you want to show something during your interview, talk to the producer first. They will help you prepare in advance so that you have it positioned right and it won’t become a distraction to the audience.
· Stay in your seat. Hold still! Avoid the temptation to flee the moment your segment ends. Keep your pose for a few seconds and wait until the crew tells you that you are clear before getting up.
Relax!! Most importantly, relax and be yourself. You want the experience to be a shining moment that you can share with colleagues, clients and friends, not something fit for a horror movie outtake.