I have been a spokesperson for non-profits and a Fortune 500 company for more than 10 years. In my previous roles, I handled countless media interviews. However, up until recently, the bulk of those interviews have been via phone or off camera for newsprint. I have recently had to flex my on-camera interview muscle and step out of my comfort zone. While I feel strongly that I am a seasoned public relations practitioner, on-camera interviews – especially, live interviews are still very new occurrences. In the past several months, I have had to do several and I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade that I will share below.
- Makeup should be camera ready. While I wear makeup daily, makeup on camera and especially for live TV should be heavier than what you would wear day to day. I normally wear nudes and light pink lipsticks but those are not good color selection for on camera. Richer, bolder colors work better.
- Solid colored shift dresses that aren’t black look better on camera. For my first two live interviews I wore black blouses. They didn’t look as good as the color options I selected for later interviews. A few weeks ago, I wore a royal blue cardigan with my company’s logo on it and it did the trick. You want to wear clothing items that don’t call attention to you. Keep in mind, if they are looking at what you have on, they are not paying attention to what you are saying.
- Wrinkles matter. Wear clothes that do not easily wrinkle. In one of my earlier interviews, I wore a skirt that crinkled up after I had been seated for a while. The television news process is a whole lot of hurry up and wait and while waiting, you may be sitting, so, be cognizant of that when selecting attire.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. If you are like me and not always the subject matter expert on the topic that you are serving as a spokesperson for, it is imperative that you rehearse. Draft talking points, review them before your interview and practice with family or friends. You want to sound informed and knowledgeable on the topic, however, be careful not to memorize your talking points. Never state them verbatim because, well… that is boring. Allow yourself room to go off script and show your personality.
- And, lastly, speak in sound bites. Get to the point and cover your most important points first. If you do that, you will have a better chance of ensuring your key messages are covered.
If you are reading this, you probably have an interview soon, so, good luck with that interview!