”Dos” and ”don’ts” when TV interview is happening

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We all know that the first impression counts the most in face to face communication, and this is also valid in a media interview. Both for the interaction with the interviewer and for the public impression.

There are some basic rules that all should consider when meeting the press, to give a good first impression, from how to talk to how to act and dress. So, let’s see what it should be kept in mind in this kind of situations.


What to wear for TV interviews?

First of all, we should start with things that are likely to be avoided in a TV interview, when it comes to what and how to wear it.

Don’t wear white, black or red. White glows and becomes the most noticeable thing on the TV screen. Black is too harsh and can suck up all the light. Reds bleed on camera and are distracting. The safest colour on TV is blue.

Also, don’t wear stripes because they dance around on the screen and are distracting. Besides, remove jewellery that moves, makes noise, or could hit your microphone and don`t wear light coloured pants.

In case you wonder how you should wear your clothes, we bet on confidence and advice that the men’s suits should hang well, and their hems should be long enough to avoid exposing your legs while seated. Wear long, dark socks and an understated tie. If you favour pocket squares, pick a dark colour that coordinates perfectly and is well-folded.

Before you go on air, brush your lapels and shoulders if there’s any chance they may be adorned with dandruff, pet hair or baby spit-up. And remember to unbutton your jacket’s bottom button when you sit down, in order to keep the lapels straight. Jackets will also look better if you tuck the ends under you when you sit.


What does your body language say?

The nonverbal communication is very important in a TV interview because all of your moves are analysed and watched by a lot of people that can be your future and actual clients, your boss, family, friends etc.

So, it is good to know that when you are being interviewed you must not stare directly into the camera or continuously shift your gaze between the journalist and the camera. This can make the viewers feel uncomfortable and they may not pay attention to your message.

If you’re in a studio with an interviewer, look at them, never at the camera. But if you’re alone with the camera being patched in to the studio, look only at the camera; looking away can make you seem shifty or ill-prepared.

Also, we are giving you some minimal definition of body language to keep in mind when you will be interviewed.

Arm crossed over your chest signals defensiveness and resistance. When they are open at your sides, you appear more approachable. Nod once or twice with a smile, and then don’t do it anymore.

Besides, to show a confident attitude you should stop fidgeting because the nervous energy will distract the interviewer, and the most important is to match your tone with facial expression and look someone directly in the eye to convey confidence and certainty.

For the final step in the Mimic & Gestures rules, we advise you to keep in mind this 4 common body language mistakes that you should avoid in your TV interview, to look like a real pro.


To say or not to say?

Beside the prep of the discourse for the interview, you should keep in mind that is important what to or not to say.

In the Journal of Economic Education, Daniel Hamermesh writes that experts must try to develop “pithy one-liners that summarise your ideas”.

”Never say “no comment”. It’s the worst answer you can give to a tough question.” The audience immediately feels you have something to hide.

Keep in mind! If you’re representing an organisation, make sure that what you say is aligned to its stance, no matter what your own take is. Small Business Notes says that “it’s best to avoid personal viewpoints altogether”.

Thus, to remember what are the most important steps to keep the attention of the audience on you, we have summarised the next 7 key points:

  • Give key words that you want your target audience to know and to remember;
  • Highlight for the reporter why your subject is important, what it will accomplish in the real world;
  • Put your subject in newsworthy terms: what is new and significant, how it ties in with current issues, explains a trend, adds a new aspect to a current news story;
  • Present or include memorable “word pictures”. By reinforcing these pictures throughout the interview, they will come to dominate. (A well-known example is “think globally, act locally”.)
  • Avoid “Bait”

Don’t repeat “bait” words – loaded words that a reporter may use in questions, such as “kill”, “greed”, etc. When you repeat a “bait” word in your response you may have given the reporter a quote you would not like to see used.

  • Use “bridges”

When the reporter steers you away from the subject that you want to discuss, bring it back by bridging phrases that lead again to your messages: “this is not the real issue. The real issue is…” “Let’s look at it from this point of view…”

  • Overcome “blanks”

When you are at a loss for words, pause. Collect your thoughts. Stay cool, start anew. If you really did not understand or were not concentrating, ask the reporter to repeat the question.

To be sure that the lesson is complete, we leave here, for you, a video on how to act in TV interviews. Good luck!


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