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Media Training--so you don't get distracted during your media interviews

By Suzanne Spurgeon  July 19, 2016


It is easy to get distracted during broadcast media interviews.  A producer may be talking to you via an earpiece (IFB)—telling you to wrap things up, while you are still trying to answer a question on live TV.  Or maybe another panelist keeps interrupting you and you lose your train of thought.  

As a long-time TV news producer, I tried to limit what I said to on-air talent and to interviewees during live interviews.  I knew how disconcerting it could be for them.  If you get burned by a very chatty producer, you can always say, “someone is talking in my ear” during your interview.  That generally will shut up any producer. 

Before you agree to be interviewed live, be sure to ask if you are a solo guest or part of a panel.  You have a right to know who else will be part of the discussion.  Hopefully you will have time to do a bit of research on the other panelists. 

As an interviewee, you know you cannot control everything, but with some media training you can up your game.  Are you sabotaging your own media interviews with distracting behaviors like these?

  • Your chair is on casters and you are gently turning your chair
  • Your hand gestures are too close to your face
  • You are wearing a huge watch that makes noise every time your wrist touches the anchor desk; or your necklace hits the lavalier microphone that is pinned to your blouse—messing up your audio
  • You forget to turn off your cell phone and it rings during the interview
  • You have a habit of saying “um” without realizing just how often you do it
  • You break eye contact

Through media training exercises you can learn how to control many of these distracting behaviors. Simply put, you do not want to do anything that diverts viewers’ attention from your messaging.

Check out how actress Emma Watson reacted when her cell phone rang during a TV interview.

Blame the latest craze, Pokémon Go, for this on-air distraction.  The TV weathercaster handled it like a pro.

Watch this video for some tips from Women Media Pro (and long-time CNN Anchor) Bella Shaw on how to dress for TV interviews---so what you wear doesn’t grab more attention than your message.

We have wardrobe tips for male executives as well—provided in our media training workshops.


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