You’re sitting in a chair waiting to be drilled with questions by a person you barely know. All the while, there is a big, black camera just 12 inches away from your face. There is no argument that being the brand spokesperson or interviewee during an on-camera segment can be a nerve-wracking experience. Knowing what say and how to effectively relate your message to the audience is crucial. Luckily, we have plenty of experience. So, we’ve provided 5 helpful tips to help you nail your next on-camera interview.
1. Make yourself comfortable
Take a seat, relax, and have a conversation. Tune out the camera and pretend that the interviewer is a close friend. Focusing on your interviewer’s eyes helps to you to engage in the interview and distract yourself from any nerves you may have brought in. Cameras are typically framed to get you in a tight shot during interviews, so avoid shifting around in your seat or repositioning your body. Similarly, if you are using a prop or product in your segment, the crew probably already has it framed in the shot. So instead of picking it up, point or signal towards it.
2. Have a clear message in mind
Build a strong understanding of the message that you are trying to get across. The general rule of thumb is to repeat your message three times throughout the interview; any more or less would cause the message to get lost or become gimmicky. Make your words short and impactful. (Reporters are looking for a good 5-10 seconds of sound bite , so your very interesting 15-second story probably won’t make the cut. Keep in mind the acronym WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). When approached with any question, think about how you can use the opportunity to maximize the message and make your responses relevant to the interview and interesting to the audience.
3. Do your research
Getting to know your interviewer before the interview is just as important as them getting to know you. Gather some notable facts about your host, research their beat (area of coverage), and watch some of their most recent stories before you get on camera. This will give you a better understanding of the types of questions typically asked by your interviewer, and what they are looking for in a story. It is also important that you know as much as possible about your interview topic to avoid being caught off-guard. Google yourself and your organization. Be aware of recent coverage and how you will address the more difficult questions, as they will be asked.
4. Know what not to wear
Knowing what to wear is important, but knowing what not to wear might be even more crucial. Flamboyant prints and noisy jewelry can be distracting during an interview and take away from your message. Stick to solids (pastels and bright colors) and keep makeup and skincare simple with a matte finish to avoid camera shine.
5. Be enthusiastic
Nothing is more boring to an audience than a brand spokesperson who drones on about a topic that they clearly don’t find interesting themselves. Enthusiasm, however, is engaging, and smiling translates well on camera. Also note that excitement tends to be toned-down through the lens, so don’t be afraid to bump it up a couple of notches, even if it feels a little over the top.
6. Speak clearly and naturally
Too often, people attempt to change their voice or tenor when being interviewed.
It is important to be yourself! Viewers can sense when a personality is not genuine or natural. A few additional speaking tips are:
- Avoid up-speaking (ending your statements in a higher inquisitive tone) as it can lead to confusion.
- Dodge clichés and run on sentences.
- Cut out any ‘ums’ and ‘you knows’ in your sentences.
Keep these tips in mind and your next on-camera interview will be smooth sailing.