Landing a TV or online broadcast interview is often the pinnacle of a public relations campaign for your company or product, offering a chance to directly reach your key target audience while building a valuable relationship with a journalist. However, with high reward comes high risk. For that reason, participating in a broadcast interview can be exciting—or nerve wracking, depending on your perspective.
If you’ve been invited to participate in a broadcast interview and are feeling the pressure, here are four game-changing tips that will make you look like a seasoned veteran.
Preparation And Rehearsal
Being prepared is not about having rehearsed lines, rather being knowledgeable on all facets of the upcoming conversation. “Studying” for your interview and anticipating what a reporter may ask will not only make you appear more confident but will aid in your responses coming out more naturally, and not sounding memorized.
Pro Tip: Practice speaking in sound bites. It can be difficult to be concise on the spot, especially during live interviews, so practice talking in soundbites. Practicing 10-20 second responses will help you not only prepare for questions you want to answer, but having phrases stored in the back of your mind can be used at any point in the interview to refocus the interview back to your key message and purpose.
How you present yourself is equally as important as what you say. If the audience is distracted by something non-verbal, then potentially key parts of your message may be undermined. Unlike other mediums, having an interview on television means your body language, dress, and movement can all contribute to how you capture your audience’s attention and your credibility.
It is important to look relaxed and calm, particularly as the audience will be able to see your facial expressions. Try to use slow, controlled gestures. Only use hand gestures if they complement what you are saying.
Wear a simple and professional outfit. Avoid wearing stripes, checks, herringbone, small intricate designs or flashy jewelry as they can be distracting when viewed on a screen.
Pro Tip: Lean slightly forward in your seat, this will aid in you appearing more confident, engaged and closely connected with the audience.
What To Say
Take a moment to think about what you will say. Say it and then stop. If the journalist is quiet, don’t feel as though you need to keep talking. Keeping your words concise will help people digest what you are saying.
Consider using the “bridging” technique if the interview is going in a direction you are not comfortable with. Bridging is taking a question and crafting your responses to go in the direction of one of your main talking points. Phrases like “it’s also important to remember…” or “the thing we are focusing on most is…” are good ways to steer the interview in your favor.
Avoid acronyms. While you might think the most basic industry terms and acronyms are common knowledge, there is a chance that even a small percentage of your audience is unfamiliar. Speaking in plain terms also aids in you being more relatable to your audience and increases the chances that your points are coming across effectively.
Oftentimes, you’ll have a chance for a closing remark or the last question you’ll get is “Do you have anything else to add?” Resist the urge to say no. While you may have already covered your key talking points, don’t be afraid to summarize and repeat them at the end of an interview. This is a perfect opportunity to restate your message clearly and concisely.
Pro Tip: It’s okay to not know an answer! If a journalist asks you a question that you do not know the answer to, acknowledge the question and then use the bridging technique to tailor your response towards another talking point that you have prepared and are knowledgeable on.
How To Say It
Your voice is an important instrument in conveying your messages. It is important to speak more expressively and energetically than usual. Otherwise, your recorded voice can sound monotone. Your voice should lift and drop and increase and decrease in volume which will help put power and importance behind your words.
Pro Tip: Pace your responses. Most people speak between 150 and 160 words per minute but quicken their pace when they get nervous. Speaking quickly can be useful if you want to add excitement to a specific point but be careful not to rush through your entire interview. Reduce your speed when discussing more complicated information, emphasizing a key point or building drama.
The above-mentioned four tips will ensure that you are prepared, presentable and ready to tackle the subject at hand for your next broadcast appearance. The more confident and media-ready you are, the more likely you will land another placement in the future.
Victoria Evans is an Account Coordinator at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit flackable.com.