For many company spokespeople, their first TV appearance is often on one of the 24-hour news channels, such as Sky News, BBC News Channel or CNBC. However this can be a scary experience. These stations have a lot of airtime to fill and the call often comes at short notice; moreover the interviews are nearly always ‘live’, which can be nerve-wracking even for the experienced. Here are our six top tips for newbies (and not so newbies):
1. The usual rules apply – find out as much as you can about the interview (likely length, question areas etc) beforehand. But be prepared – they often go off-topic.
2. If going to the channel’s main studio, allow plenty of time to go through security, then make-up – this is usually provided for both women and men.
3. Don’t expect a lot of hand-holding. If the producer is busy you many not get much guidance on what’s expected of you – they assume you will be well media-trained, self-sufficient and ‘oven-ready.’ You may or may not have the opportunity for a quick word with the presenter/interviewer.
4. Turn off the sound on your phone before going into the studio itself – better still, turn the phone off altogether to avoid any risk of microphone interference.
5. Avoid allowing yourself to be distracted by the studio monitors, which may be showing the live programme output. In particular try to keep these out of your field of vision if being interviewed from a remote studio (known in the trade as ‘down the line’). There is a strong risk that as soon as your own image appears, you will be magnetically drawn to look across to the monitor out of the corner of your eye to ‘see what you look like’ – this should be avoided at all costs as it will make you look very shifty. With remote interviews, keep looking at the camera at all times, if in the studio with the presenter look at him or her, not into the camera at all.
6. Be clear before you go in what key points you want to make, but don’t take notes into the studio to remind you – you will be tempted to look down at them and again break your eye-line to the presenter or camera.
More on our media training to get you ‘oven-ready’ to appear!