Where Do I Look? Media Presentation Tips for Scaredy Cats

Where Do I Look? Media Presentation Tips for Scaredy Cats

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

The most common question I'm asked in practical media training sessions is, "Where do you look when doing a TV or video interview?"

My answer, "Look at the journalist or person asking the questions because they are the storyteller."

Only look at the camera if you are the host of the show or looking at the interviewer via a satellite hookup or prerecord.

This is the most common mistake novice media performers make.

Over my 30 year career, here's my media presentation tips for scaredy cats.

1. Look at the Journalist.
They are the storyteller not you.
You are the one with the important information and they are the one linking it all together and telling the story.

2. Don't Look At the Camera.
The camera is made of glass and steel and won't smile back!

3. Only Look at the Camera if it is a Remote Interview.
This is usually when it is not face to face such as a satellite hook-up or remote interview via a second camera.

4. Ask the Journalist to Repeat the Question.
Use this technique if you need more time to think, didn't hear the questions properly or didn't understand the question.

5. Radio Notes.
If it is a radio interview have notes in front of you but don't rustle them.

6. Memory Hooks for TV.
For TV you will have to commit your key messages and points to memory.
Use memory hooks - such as alliteration to make them more memorable.

7. Use Quotable Quotes More than Once.
You should have spent time prior to the TV interview working on your sound bite, news grab or quotable quote.
Don't be afraid to use it in the TV interview a number of times.
The editors and producers will choose the best one so give them options.

8. Get the Quote Out Early
Get your quote out early in the interview because you never know when the interview may have to wrap up.
The first question is nearly always a broad open question from the journalist.

9. Avoid Visual Distractions
This can be a fly, car driving past or someone trying to do a photo-bomb.
For TV interviews in a studio or in the field a monitor can very distracting so get it turned off or turned away where you can't see it.
There is nothing more distracting than seeing yourself on the screen while trying to do an interview.
For live radio interviews always turn the radio off because often there will be a seven second delay and this is really confusing for listeners.

10. Always Remember Everything is "On The Record"
You've packed up and everything is turned off and then you make a comment thinking the interview is over.

This can become the headline if you're not careful and disciplined.

Everything is on the record when talking to a journalist.

Want to know more and practice in a safe friendly environment? Please consider:
Tuesday November 12th 2013, HLB Mann Judd, L4, 130 Stirling Street, Perth Australia, Australia
Winning the Media Game
Numbers are strictly limited so book here.

Thomas Woodford added:

Hello Tom

Thanks for the recent cast on interview techniques.  It's great to be able to look at your material through the prism of psychology.

What I have noticed is the importance of background in an interview.

For example if I am going to confirm a theory to an interviewer,  who is challenging the science,  I will choose an academic backdrop e.g., library books  on shelves. 

If the theory is old and needs reinforcing an old style book case and books is best. 

If it's ground breaking technology then IKEA and clean-edged,  smooth but strong back drop office is good.

Crisis backdrops and anything to do with giving a united stance always has a person in the back nodding.

I wouldn't let an interviewer choose the background in my domain or my office  because its all in the rehearsal.  There's nothing wrong with setting up a camera at your office,  watch the footage with an objective friend. 

Also have a swag of different outdoor locations you look good in.  If reporters ring for a doorstop deflect them to an outdoor location you have been before.  If you feel good in a location it will come across.

At the office experimenting with backdrops can make a difference and then dictate terms when the reporter arrives in the nicest possible way  e.g., sparkling water and lemon in a tall glass a comfortable place to wait for the talent,  who arrives just after appointment time.

 Greeting reporters unprepared and waiting while they set up just leads to unnecessary talk.  A walk on to the set is best when they are ready.

Conduct the interview and walk off leaving them to pack up.

You're right; whatever you do don't look at the camera.

 Kind regards

Thomas Woodford (BBA), (Grad. Dip. Ed), (MRE).

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