Giving a Better TV or Radio Interview

Hundreds of people are interviewed on television—could you be next? Good interviews don’t just happen by accident, as those who attend our highly professional media training courses quickly learn. Here are just three of our trainers’ tips:

1 Do your Prep

Find out as much as you can about the programme on which you’re being asked to appear—is it live or pre-recorded? Why has the programme chosen this particular topic and what angle are they taking? What are they expecting from you – what are the question areas? Is the audience completely general, or is targeted at housewives in Bolton or businessmen in hotels across Europe? Think about the points you could make which are most interesting, useful and relevant to the appropriate audience.

2 Dress for success

Avoid jackets or suits with close-checked or herringbone patterns as the cameras cannot always cope with the intricacy of the pattern so viewers get an uncomfortable strobing effect. The same applies to closely-striped shirts in sharply contrasting colours. Men should also avoid very dark suits, particularly in combination with white shirts which can drain colour from the face. Light pastel shirts are more flattering. For women, go for the unfussy look if you are trying to appear smart and authoritative – bold patterned scarves and loud jewellery can detract attention from what you are actually saying. For jackets and suits, fairly neutral colours tend to work best – deep saturated reds are not usually so successful.

3 Mind your language

Think about the way you talk in your work life—is your conversation peppered with abbreviations, technical terms and other jargon? For the outside world, this will just not do. Imagine instead that you are chatting in the pub to someone who is perfectly intelligent, but who simply doesn’t know anything about the subject. How would you explain it to them without being patronising—that always puts people off completely.