Congratulations! You’ve put in the hard work, made all the right contacts and now you’ve been invited to appear in your very own expert interview. When it comes to gaining credibility and building your reputation, a TV news interview or indeed any TV interview is right up there but, if you want to make the most of the opportunity, it is important to put in the planning ground-work to make sure you understand how to prepare for an interview and are fully equipped to showcase your professionalism, your self-confidence and, most importantly, your expertise. We have the ultimate list of top television interview tips to help you prepare for and ace your TV interview broadcast.
1. Recognise the importance of research
Even experts in their field can’t be expected to know everything, all of the time. Before your interview, check you have all the latest facts and figures to hand, look at the news to make sure you understand any current, pertinent issues and watch interviews with other professionals in your field.
2. Decide on your key messages
Your time in interview will be limited so keep your number of key messages to a minimum and take the opportunity to maximise on each one by including interesting facts and examples that demonstrate your expertise.
3. Understand your target audience
By understanding whom you would like your messages to reach, particularly in a TV news interview, you can ensure that your messages, information and persona are projected in ways that will be accessible to that demographic.
4. Anticipate difficult questions
Depending on the type of interview you’re planning, you might not be directly asked any difficult questions but a great television interview tip is to be aware that these questions could nonetheless be in the minds of your audience, and plan what you are going to say to give just enough reassuring information.
5. Think carefully about jargon and acronyms
One of the key things to remember when it comes to how to prepare for an interview is that not everyone will speak your daily language. All professions have a set of jargon and acronyms that are useful for precise work conversations but can be incomprehensible to those working outside your field. Substituting some, but not necessarily all, of these for more regular language can be tricky but your efforts will pay off when more people grasp what you’re trying to say.
6. Keep it compact
If you enjoy your topic, there’s a chance you might ramble once you start talking. One great tip on how to prepare for an interview is, once you have planned what you want to say, to time your answers to a variety of questions. TV sound bites are only seconds long, so be aware of that and build in some longer and some shorter answers.
7. Think live TV
TV news interviews are often broadcasted directly to audiences but, even if this isn’t the case for your interview, imagining that what you are saying is going out live will help you to keep your audience in mind and your answers on topic.
8. Consider your non-verbal communication
Understanding non-verbal communication is a key element of how to prepare for an interview. Your hand-gestures, tone of voice, eye movements and facial expressions all say something about the way you feel about yourself, your audience and your topic so practice these either in front of a mirror or, even better on camera, before your TV interview.
9. Be animated
Things that are moving attract attention and the same applies for television. This doesn’t necessarily mean that during your interview you need to wave your hands around or pull unnatural faces. Re-watch the last TV news interview that grabbed your notice all the way through and decide what it was that you enjoyed. The chances are that the interviewee used their smile and intonation to keep their performance exciting.
10. Slow your speech down
This is a tricky television interview tip because speaking too quickly is almost inevitable if you are nervous, trying to sound exciting or unsure of your answers. The unfortunate thing however, about speaking too quickly is that it will make your nerves, lack of preparation or over-eagerness all too obvious. The absolute best way to slow your speech down in preparation for your TV interview is to record yourself speaking and play it back, not just to yourself, but also to friends or trusted colleagues. Once you have mastered speed of speech, you can use it to put emphasis on your key messages.
11. Know which are your fallback words
You only have to watch a TV news interview to find out that even the most confident of interviewees have words or expressions they use to start their answers off or keep them moving. ‘Absolutely’, ‘actually’ and ‘so’ are common examples but you may have your own. Whilst it’s impossible to avoid these altogether, particularly if you’re just starting out with TV interviews, you do need to make sure you don’t use them too often. Recording yourself speaking at a meeting or asking colleagues can help you find out which words you need to be most aware of.
12. Avoid too much self-promotion
One of the trickiest television interview tips to follow is about finding ways to showcase your achievements whilst not appearing to over-promote yourself. Audiences can switch off quickly if they detect aggrandisement so put your focus on your topic and allow your enthusiasm and knowledge to do the promotional work.
13. Expect, but don’t plan, to say the same thing twice
It would be great to think that filming your interview is going to go directly from A to Z without any disruptions but, unless you are a TV news interview pro, this is unlikely to happen. The chances are that, at some point, there will be an issue that will necessitate a repeat or re-run of a response or moment. Perfection rather than repetition is the goal here.
14. Plan your outfit in advance
As a professional you will understand by now what standard of clothing is expected of you but, for your TV interview, it is worth being aware that there are also a few other considerations. Stripes, checks and over-busy patterns can cause camera issues, dangly jewellery can distract and make a noise and clothes that are too unusual can detract from what you are trying to say.
15. Be yourself
This is perhaps one of the most important television interview tips. The main goals of your TV interview are to establish yourself and gain credibility. By far the best way to achieve either of these goals is to make sure your audience sees the real professional you. You’ve got to the position you are in now through your own hard work. People respond to real personalities so let yours shine through.
One of the very best ways to make sure you feel relaxed and prepared for your TV interview is to locate it in convenient and familiar surroundings. There is nowhere better to do this than your usual office environment. Get interviewed in your own branded office and partner with over 100 international broadcasters from around the world. For more information get in touch today.