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Finally, the network called for a live TV interview. Now what?

July 18, 2014

You’ve finally received the call: The one from a broadcast TV network interested in your expertise – for live TV!   Hoorah!   Now what?

A post on financialservicesmarketing.com reminded me that there’s little room for error when it comes to live TV.  And I couldn’t agree more.

First things first.  Recognize you want to give a great performance on TV, and you want to be called back for the next opportunity.  So, embrace the idea that this is your moment to shine.

Next, know your audience, your program host and your topic.  Chances are the network producer didn’t just pull you out of a hat.  Thoroughly research who your host is, how they manage conversations/talent and what they are looking for in your expertise.

Lastly, apply everything you learned about creating better video performance for thought leadership video to live TV.

  1. Be calm, confident and conversational.
  2. Don’t be the smartest person in the room.
  3. Speak directly to your host, and in a manner that viewers will understand.
  4. Practice and anticipate questions.  Help the host interview you.
  5. Converse with your host, don’t lecture.  Great interviews are engaging conversations.
  6. Bring your passion, emotion and knowledge.  Networks are looking for ratings.  Melba toast performances typically don’t receive call-backs.

Now that you’ve thought about how to perform your best, the next question is where do you conduct the interview?   If it’s convenient for you, on-set at the networks is usually an option. Anticipate losing a fair amount of your day if you’re going to the networks.  These studios are usually located in major cities where traffic and unscheduled events rule the day.

An alternative option is do it yourself (DIY) technology.  Skype and similar technologies work if there is poor network connectivity or there is a sense of urgency, but the quality of your appearance will inevitably suffer.  Remember, live TV is two dimensional – your voice and your appearance.  Poor quality transmission will affect both and often negatively influences how audiences hear your message.

Another option is to investigate whether you have an in-house studio or local studio nearby.  An in-house studio gives you the opportunity to practice an on-air interview (if you’ve never done one) and frees up your time so you can focus on your performance and not your travel schedule.  Ask your video production department if they have one.  On-site studios are typically designed for HD network broadcasts and provide superlative connectivity and video quality.

Live TV opportunities are a great way to build your brand and engage new and existing audiences.  Consider these preparation tips for your next live TV interview. If you are thoughtful and ‘real’ when you appear on TV, you’ll likely be considered for the next time.  Watch Acing the Interview, hosted by Alex McHale, a VideoLink producer, to learn more ways to prepare and relax during your live TV interview.

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