4 Musts to Prepare for a Comfortable On-Camera Interview
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As your business grows, you’ll be asked to give interviews about your product or service. That’s great news! Being interviewed by local and national media -- as well as podcasters and bloggers -- has consistently helped grow my business.
The first time I appeared on national television, I was confident I knew what I was doing. In reality, I was a deer in headlights.
The thought of being interviewed might be intimidating, but the experience doesn’t have to be. The more comfortable you are, the better the interview will go.
Here is what I’ve learned.
1. Get as much information as possible. Familiarize yourself with the person who is interviewing you and/or the program they work for. Some hosts are very well prepared, while others are less so. What’s their style? How crazy can you get? Can you be zany? Should you be the epitome of calm? Whoever is interviewing you, if they care about what they do, will strive to help you feel at ease.
Ask how long the interview will be and what kind of content the interviewer is looking for. How many questions is she or he going to ask you? How in-depth is it going to be? If it’s going to be a short interview, practice a few key sound bites.
Sometimes I’ll even go so far as to ask how I can help them. I might even ask what their audience is looking for.
Ask to be sent a list of questions in advance, but know some interviewers won't comply.
If possible, schedule your interview on a day and at a time that works well for you. If you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule an interview for 7 a.m.
2. Practice until you get it right. When it comes to giving interviews, you cannot practice enough. Watch yourself. Listen to yourself. It’s as easy as filming yourself on your iPhone, and you’ll learn a ton.
Ask a friend you trust to be honest with you on what you could be doing better. Try to avoid saying “umm” as often as possible, because it’s distracting (and all too easy to do). You’ll notice other unsavory mannerisms when you listen to and watch yourself. Train yourself until you feel and look comfortable in front of the camera.
When I watch newscasters, I’m amazed by their ability to smile while they’re talking. That’s a learned skill! Practice at home. The camera is your friend.
Before your interview, make sure you’re feeling good. For me, that means being well rested and not having just eaten. If coffee makes you hyper, don’t drink it. Get a good night of sleep.
3. Dress to impress. If you’re going to be filmed, make sure to wear appropriate clothing. Watch the show. What color is the background? What are people wearing? Choose something that will stand out, but also be complimentary to the set.
I always bring extra shirts with me in case I want to change what I’m wearing. (Stripes aren’t your friend.) I also always arrive early to introduce myself to the camera operator. If you’ve been practicing at home, you should know what your your best angles are -- but it doesn’t hurt to ask the camera operator for his or her opinion. Ask where you should be looking -- into the camera or at your interviewer? Don’t forget to sit up straight!
4. Let your passion shine. Enthusiasm goes a long way. Be a storyteller, don’t just spew facts. People love to hear anecdotes. You’ll be more memorable and likable. Practice your storytelling at dinner parties and social events.
A good interview is like a conversation -- if it’s too rehearsed, it will feel fake and unnatural. Don’t forget to try to have fun.