Did you know that public speaking tops many Americans’ fears? It joins the likes of snakes, spiders, and heights! There are actually statistics out there of people who’d rather eat inspects or run through the streets in their underwear than give a television interview.
An on-camera interview can cause a lot of people to be nervous. TV lights and having a camera staring at you can be stressful and can make it difficult to tell your story. In order to keep those nerves calm, follow these Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Cool on Camera.
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
First, identify the three main points you want to get across. Then practice. Have a spouse, co-worker or friend quiz you by pretending to be the reporter. Practice in front of the mirror. This will allow you to gain confidence and avoid getting flustered on camera.
- Dress To Impress…But Not Too Much
When going on camera you want to dress as if you are going to a job interview. Wear solid colors and avoid patterns like stripes or plaids. However, you should avoid pure white or black. White on the television can be too bright and wash out your coloring and black often looks too dark. You want to stick to neutral colors or pastels because the camera will boost the colors. If possible, avoid glasses as they may glare off the lights and avoid flashy or dangly jewelry.
- Maintain Proper Body Language
Body language is important because any wrong movement can be construed as something different. For example, when facing the interviewer, make sure you are focusing on the person asking the questions and not looking directly into the camera. When you pause to think, look down, not up, because the viewers could take an upward glance as rolling your eyes. Also, when sitting, lean forward about 20 degrees to avoid slumping, which could make you look uninterested in the discussion.
- Avoid Jargon
Don’t use “industry speak” that someone unfamiliar with your company or subject matter may not understand. Simple and straight to the point. Too much jargon can drive viewers away.
- More Is Not Always Better
Stick to what the interviewer says and what you want to say. You know what you want to communicate during the interview, so stick to that. Giving long answers gives the journalist the opportunity to choose which parts of the answer to use and what not to use.
- Avoid “No Comment”
If you respond with “no comment” you can give the impression you are trying to hide information. Prepare for difficult questions and come up with answers that won’t come with negative consequences.
- Always Have Facts To Back Up Your Points
Having actual facts and sources to support your points gives you more credibility.
- It’s Okay to Not Know the Answer
If you don’t know to the answer to a question, say so. You can respond that there hasn’t been a decision reached yet or you aren’t sure of the answer and will report back when you do know. Saying anything else could lead to confusion or misconstrued information.
- Don’t Repeat A Negative Question
Keep your answer brief and simple and pave your way to what you want to say. Circle back with your top three main points.
- Relax and Smile!
Feel free to think for a moment and take a deep breath before responding a reporter’s question. This will allow you to gather your thoughts and appear calm. If you do have to restart an answer or pause in the middle, it doesn’t really matter. The reporter will only show a small snippet of you speaking on camera and will use the remainder of the information as background for the story. Above all else, don’t forget to smile! It will visually help make you appear likeable and credible!
Photo Credit: John Picken Photography