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Have a television interview coming up? Here’s what you need to know:

Television is a visual medium. Your physical and your on-camera delivery are just as important as what you are saying—actually, more so. Here are some tips to help you bring your A-game.

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:

  • Arrive early. Become familiar with the studio and your surroundings. If the interview is taking place at your office or some other location, allow time for lighting and sound checks.
  • A pre-interview generally precedes the real interview. This is where you chat, somewhat informally, with the reporter or host of the show. This is the time to mention anything that you would like to cover and a chance to get to know the personality and demeanor of the interviewer. The pre-interview can help set the tone for the actual interview.
  • With television, there are more technical components. Rarely will anyone put makeup on you. But they will clip a microphone to your shirt and try to hide the wire. Try not to touch or brush against the microphone when you are talking. When you are asked for a level-check on the microphone, just speak in a normal conversational tone like you were talking to a friend.

DURING THE INTERVIEW:

  • Gesture normally. Avoid any sudden movement or overly large gestures.
  • Avoid any nervous habits. Toe tapping, finger tapping, furrowed brow.
  • Have your expression match your words. If you look grave when talking about good news, there is a mixed message that will confuse the viewing audience. Sometimes a neutral expression comes across as negative on TV. Smile if it is appropriate.
  • If you are seated, look comfortable but do not slouch. If standing, don’t cross your arms and don’t shift your weight from side to side.
  • When the host or reporter asks a question, do not nod your head to acknowledge that you understand the question. This can look like you are agreeing with what he/she is saying. Remain neutral until you start answering.
  • If a host or reporter is interviewing you, look at the person, not at the camera.
  • Consider the microphone “on” at all times. Never say anything off-color, off the record or inappropriate while in the studio or around a camera.
  • Remember to wait until the host or reporter has finished asking the question to start answering.

ATTIRE

  • Dress professionally and conservatively. You don’t want to wear anything that will distract the audience. For men, a dark-suit with a blue shirt. For women, a dark outfit with solid colors. Avoid ties (or other material) with small patterns. It makes the screen “crawl” and is very distracting.
  • Don’t wear large or shiny jewelry.
  • Don’t wear white. It makes television cameras “flare” and is unflattering.
  • The studio will be cold until airtime due to excessive air conditioning. It gets quite hot under the lights, so wear some mid-weight clothing to keep comfortable.
  • Men should shave as close as possible to airtime to avoid a shadow. Women should wear a matte finish make-up to avoid being shiny on camera.
  • Men should unbutton their suit jackets when seated. Sitting on the tails helps create a clean line for the camera.
  • Consider the microphone “on” at all times. Never say anything off-color, off the record or inappropriate while in the studio or around a camera.
  • Remember to wait until the host or reporter has finished asking the question to start answering.

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