Thursday, February 14, 2008

5 Tips for TV Talk Show Appearances

A good interviewee on TV is somebody whose voice and energy make you turn back to the program when you're distracted or doing something else when the TV is on, as I often am. I heard -- then saw -- one of these people yesterday on the Today Show. And I saw an equally bad one today.

The good spokesperson is Sloan Barnett, iVillage consumer editor.

The bad spokesperson is Amanda Brooks, a contributing editor for Men's Vogue. In her Today Show interview (at the link, select "Sexy sleepwear for guys" in the video section), she speaks in a monotone I found hard to listen to (not that it mattered considering the segment included seriously distracting visuals).

To be a Barnett and not a Brooks, keep these five tips in mind when you're doing a TV interview:
  • Project more energy than you usually would because the cameras are draining. It might feel strange, but it looks natural (in the same way that the clownish TV makeup looks extreme in person but appropriate when seen through your TV set).

  • Sit up straight in your chair -- don't lean back no matter how comfortable it is and how desperately you need to feel comfortable in front of the cameras. If you get too comfortable, you will appear flat -- and flat makes viewers change channels.

  • Use your hands when you talk. You do this in real life, so do it in an interview, too.

  • Talk to the interviewer, not the camera. You're having a conversation with the host, not the viewer.

  • Wear what's appropriate for the situation, but what makes you feel confident, too. If you feel like you look great, you'll have more confidence and energy.
Got TV interview tips that work for you? Please share them here!


Jen A. Miller said...

Prepare more than one outfit. I was interviewed for a documentary on a day that turned out to be much hotter than we thought it would be -- and we were filming outside. Luckily, I had the same shirt on both long and short sleeves and made a quick change.

Sandra Beckwith said...

That's a great tip, Jen! Thanks! I did this once, too, when I wasn't quite sure what was appropriate for the show. It's also a good to have an option in case you spill coffee down the front of your shirt....

Anonymous said...

I had classes recently that dealt with radio and television production. One of the most important elements is and will always be your voice. To my annoyance, my voice sounds dreadfully dull on playback. I suppose extra effort is really needed. You have to exaggerate just a tiny bit to exhibit life on camera or on recorder.