Landing a television interview is a big deal. This is your shining moment – your opportunity to share your story with the masses. Don’t end up like Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights, though. In real life, weak or awkward interviews could mean your clip doesn’t make the story at all.
Here are our 7 rules of TV interviews:
1. Turn off your cell phone. No one – especially you – wants to hear that ringing in the middle of a take or, god forbid, during a live shot.
2. Unless instructed otherwise, look directly at the person asking the questions. Try to focus on having a conversation and ignore the camera.
3. Stand or sit straight and tall. This not only looks better, it also opens your diaphragm for clearer speaking.
4. Avoid wearing bright colors and distracting patterns. Tops in pastel colors work well, and blue is always a safe bet.
5. Prepare and rehearse possible answers in advance. Spend extra time refining messaging and delivery for interviews that may cover touchy or controversial subjects.
6. Keep your answers short. The average sound bite for a TV news segment is 7 seconds or less. If your answers drone on, the reporter may not be able to include it in the segment.
7. Have someone from your PR firm or department be present for the interview. They will check the shot to make sure you are clear of Alfalfa-esque hair, lipstick on the teeth or missed belt loops. They can also help act as a buffer between you and the interviewer for contentious interviews
BONUS RULE, in honor of our friend Mr. Bobby: Keep your arms comfortably at your sides and hand gestures to a minimum.
This is a snippet of material we cover in our media coaching sessions. Do you have more TV Interview rules to add to the list? We’d love to hear them!