Choose your interview location carefully!

A Sky News interview clip caught my eye the other day, with Trade minister Liz Truss. She was being interviewed ‘live’ in the street about serious issues of integrity within government, when suddenly a light fell over in front of her, blown by a sharp gust of wind. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt and managed to keep some degree of composure, but for a less experienced hand it would have been extremely off-putting. Grabbing ministers ‘on the go’ now seems to be quite a regular thing, particularly while Covid restrictions have restricted studio visits. But as this episode demonstrates, there is a downside – so what should you do if an interview opportunity comes up, and they want to film out of doors?

An outside interview can look terrific in the right circumstances, but when wind and rain threaten, you can end up looking soggy or blown about – a nightmare, greatly reducing your authority and credibility. TV crews can be very persuasive, but if you fear you will be made to look bad on screen, there is a negotiation to be had – after all, it’s your reputation at stake, and the last thing they want is for you to walk out and refuse to appear. You don’t have to just obediently have to do what they say. So, is there somewhere else nearby, where the shot may not be as pretty but there is more shelter? Maybe they want to record the piece in a busy spot, with lots of people to-ing and fro-ing – this may distract you if you are not used to being in front of the camera. Also, we’ve all seen those ‘live’ shots where there’s some clever-clever member of the public making faces behind you – which would become a source of eternal embarrassment. Try and find somewhere quieter if you fear interruption, and always make sure you feel the background is appropriate – be certain there’s not an ugly row of bins in the background, or even a rival company’s logo.

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