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Media Training: It’s the little things

  June 3, 2024

Don't sweat the small stuff.  We've all heard the saying, and it's not bad advice to live by.  However, there are exceptions to the rule.  If you plan to do TV interviews, even the smallest things matter.  For example:

  • You have good talking points, but you speak too rapidly when interviewed.  People watching you on TV or on their mobile device are often multitasking and if you speak too fast, they are likely to miss a lot of what you say.
  • You fidget.  That's not great any time, but it is especially noticeable on camera.
  • When you stand you either slouch or sway.  If you are doing a standing interview avoid both.  It's distracting from your messaging.
  • Sitting can also be a problem on TV.  If you sit way back in your chair it can denote a lack of interest.  Instead sit forward a bit to appear engaged.  And if that chair has casters on it, don't swing.  
  • Unnecessary fillers in speech such as "um" or "you know" pop into TV interviews.  It could be you use these often in your everyday speech and the habit continues on TV.  Many of our clients have no idea how often they um or you know.  When we interview them on camera and point this out, they see and hear for themselves and start to break the habit.
  • Do you have a tendency to ramble, especially when you're nervous?  For interviews you need to learn to speak in sound bites (short and precise responses).  Once you have completed your thought, stop talking even if there is dead air.  The reporter or anchor needs to jump in there with another question.  The rambling part of your answer is never the good stuff you intend to convey to an audience.
  • You love to wear flashy, chunky jewelry.  That's fine but not on TV unless you want people to focus on that instead of your messaging.
  • Your favorite tie has lots of fine lines.  Choose another one when you do a TV interview.  Fine lines can appear wavy on camera.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is on silent mode.  There's nothing more distracting or embarrassing than a ring mid-interview.  This is especially true if the interview topic is a serious one.

All of these things may sound trivial.  But anything that draws attention from your intended messaging should be avoided.  You may see other TV interviewees or even journalists breaking these guidelines.  But this is your shot to make a first impression on an audience of potential new clients or customers, so make it count.  

There's a lot to think about before and during a TV interview.  We suggest having a checklist of do's and don'ts so you don't stress yourself out when opportunity knocks.  
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