As an operator, I have watched thousands of guests conduct live TV interviews with network anchors. You would think that my job would get really boring. On the contrary! Some guests keep me on the edge of my seat, wanting to hear more about their expertise, even when they discuss subjects I have no interest in. These guests make going on live television look natural and effortless. Here are the four things these great interviewers consistently execute to give engaging TV performances.
Preparing for an interview means more than knowing what you are going to say. You want to anticipate what your interviewer is going to ask. Stumbling to answer a question rarely presents a polished image. When a guest stumbles to find the answer to a question, the audience may believe the guest does not know the subject matter. A well prepared guest is already anticipating questions and answers them smoothly. A well-prepared guest is also able to avoid certain topics while driving the conversation back to their talking points. It’s not a matter of dodging a question as much as it is sticking to the message that you want to get across during your TV appearance.
Your message should be clear and concise. Your goal is to have a lasting, positive impression on your audience and your interviewer. Don’t overload them with too much information. Keeping it simple and sticking to a few clear points is the most effective way to communicate your message.
First thing’s first. You are on national TV so you want to look your best, but don’t go overboard. Think business formal. You want the audience to be focusing on what you are saying, not your wardrobe. Don’t wear anything that will distract the audience. Avoid vibrant stripes, flower patterns and noisy jewelry. Appropriate colors to wear are blues, grays, and tans. To add a little personality, try solid or lightly patterned ties for men, and subtle accessories for women. Your hairstyle should be well-maintained and nothing should be out of place or sticking up. Makeup is also recommended for women and men too to avoid the shine often caused by the lights. Women should wear slightly more makeup than for a typical day because the lights may drown you out a little bit. Men shouldn’t be afraid to have a little make up or even powder before their TV appearance.
This last observation sounds obvious, but it may not even cross your mind. During the interview, you want direct eye contact with the camera. If your eyes wander or if you are looking off into another direction, the audience will notice. Sounds a little silly, but on the other side of that camera is the person you are talking to – the interviewer and the audience. If you were having a conversation with them in person, you would look them in the eye. So simulate the same thing in your TV appearance. Maintaining eye contact with the audience gives off a confident vibe, which is exactly how you want to appear to the audience.
Remember, if you’re appearing on live TV, the networks want to talk to YOU! So, be confident and prepared for your next interview, and remember these four things so you look natural and effortless during your next interview.
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