When we ask those participating in our media training courses whether they’d rather have to do a live or a pre-recorded interview, the majority say ‘pre-recorded’. People feel this will give them an element of control, and the option to ‘have another go’ if they make a mess of any of the answers.
This is true, although do make sure it really is pre-recorded—there is an entertaining clip from last month of Angela Constance (pictured), an SNP minister in the Scottish Parliament, who is clearly so blasé about the process that she stopped during the middle of an interview after making a slip of the tongue, not realising the whole thing was being transmitted live on one of the Sunday political programmes.
But in actual fact, does the pre-recorded option actually offer many benefits? We think not. Firstly, the adrenaline from knowing you only have one shot tends to help people sharpen up the performance with a live interview, and get it right first time. When it‘s pre-recorded, a lot of people get even more nervous and embarrassed if they keep having to do more re-takes—mistakes lead to more mistakes. Of course, a live interview may seem more scary, and it’s even more important that you’re properly prepared and absolutely clear about the key points you want to get across. However, for many people the clincher is the fact that with a live interview you can’t be unfairly edited. What you say is exactly what will be heard by the audience; with a pre-recorded interview, the things you think are most important may be left on the digital equivalent of the cutting-room floor—what the audience may get instead is the point you feel most defensive about.