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Top 5 Tips for a Live TV Interview

At BizCom Associates, we believe the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is especially important when is comes to live TV interviews. Whether speaking in front of an audience or through a camera lens, live interviews can put even the most seasoned professional on edge. You have one chance to clearly relay your message. However, there are a few secrets the professionals follow to prepare and create a successful live TV interview that can make that one chance speak volumes.

Check out our insider list of the top five tips to follow when preparing for a successful live TV interview:

#1 What’s the Setup?

It is always important to know how each live interview situation will work ahead of the interview so that the interviewee is confident from the start. Will the interview be in a studio? Outside? Will they use one camera? Two cameras? During the interview, will you be speaking with the reporter in person like Tariq Farid, CEO of Edible Arrangements, in his live interview on Fox Business or via a remote interview where you hear the reporter, but cannot see him? To increase your chances of success, it’s best to know the format in advance.

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#2 Know the Questions

The interview will be less intimidating if you know questions being asked ahead of time. No one wants to be caught off guard, especially on live TV. Ask the TV producer or “booker” to send over the questions in advance or, at best, highlight the topics that the show wants to cover. Then put together a solid talking point for each to keep a consistent message. This will keep the conversation on topic while allowing flexibility during the interview to add your point of view and expertise into the dialogue. Mary Thompson, COO at Dwyer Group, Inc., is a pro when it comes to reviewing and preparing quick, concise responses to live TV interview questions. Recently featured on her local CBS affiliate TV station, KWTX News 10, Mary used a booking sheet our agency supplied to review talking points and conversation that resonated verbatim with the news anchor and with the audience.

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#3 Make it Count

The longer the speech, the harder it is for the reporter and audience to keep listening. You want to answer in soundbites for a short Q&A segment. Keep the interview conversational. To help with this, don’t memorize the answers to the specific questions. Know the points you want to focus on and talk like your having coffee with a friend. This keeps viewers engaged.

What you say is important, but allow for your expertise to be part of the bigger picture. Pinot’s Palette CEO Craig Ceccanti is a perfect example of making the company’s message relatable to a diverse audience while sticking to the main point of his story. During an interview on CNBC’s On the Money, Ceccanti shared a brief background of how the business got started, generated points on why it is successful, and then got to why his story matters in relation to the larger news story about the growing ‘paint-and-sip’ industry.

#4 Confidence is Key

If you want people to believe you and your message, then you must show that you believe in both first. Confidence is key in a live interview. Engage your audience in everything you say. If you’re talking about a book, invite people to go out and buy that book. If you’re talking about a website, invite people to go online and check it out. If you are confident about your message and your answers show that in a live interview, your audience will be more inspired to take action.

Confidence also includes dressing the part. In an interview, appearance is just as important as the message. Whether being questioned in a professional setting or putting on a demonstration that requires a unique uniform, how you dress and your body language can make or break your message. You want the audience to see and hear from an “expert.”

#5 Become A Critic

Have someone sit in front of you and take the role of the reporter or stand in front of a mirror to watch as you carefully answer each question. There is no editing in a live TV interview so you must practice and make changes where you see fit. There’s no turning back if you mess up, but if you do mess up, keep going!

Keep in mind, you won’t always be talking the entire interview. It’s important to practice your default face when the interviewer is asking the questions. You want to look engaged and not bored.

Although these types of interviews can be intimidating, the most important thing to remember is to have fun! This is your company’s time to shine to enjoy the conversation and the spotlight.

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