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Tips to prepare for an on-camera media interview

Video has given us the ability to share expertise and reach vast numbers of people in unprecedented ways. You may be asked at some point to speak in front of a camera for an interview, a training program, or a public speaking event. If you were called for an on-camera interview, it means that someone has recognized something you’ve said or written somewhere and wants you to share it.

Talking in front of the camera is an artificial environment and it can be quite stressful and a nerve-wracking experience. Even the most out going and extroverted person can be intimidated by an on-camera interview. The following tips can help you prepare for an interview, be camera ready and speak like a pro with confidence and pizzaz. .

Do your homework

Preparation is key for any successful on-camera interview. Ask your interviewer what is the angle of the video story, how long the interview is expected to be and how long will the final piece be. This information will give you an idea about what’s expected of you and how precise you need to be in your answers. Please note that some reporters won’t send you a list of questions before hand in order maintain the spontaneity of the interview.

Looks matter

Dress appropriately for the interview and make sure it feels confortable and it fits you well. Wear solid colours and clothes you’re confortable in. Don’t wear clothes that are too distracting; in another words avoid clothes with patterns and optical illusions. Bottom line: be natural and yourself. Wear conformable clothes and jewelry so they won’t occupy your mind during the interview.

Stick to three talking points

Prepare three key messages and two sub-points you wish to deliver, so you can be focused during the interview. It’s very important to keep your answers simple and short and not be tempted to use too much jargon, technical words and acronyms; this is especially true if you’re an scholar, academic or researcher. Always keep in mind your audience and how they will understand you.

Ignore the camera

During the interview, focus on the person who’s interviewing you instead of looking straight into the lens of the camera. It always feels more natural to talk to a real person as opposed to an object. Make sure you maintain eye contact with the reporter/journalist, this will keep you focused and will make you forget about the camera, which will make you look and sound more natural and conversational.

Sit straight

When you talk, sit straight, shoulders back to look engaged and energetic. Sitting up also opens up your diaphragm and increases your air supply. Don’t forget to breathe. When you have enough air in your lungs and you breathe from your stomach, as opposed to from your mouth, your voice doesn’t come across as shaky. You’ll appear calm and confident.

Answer in a full sentence

The journalist/producer is most likely going to edit out the questions and only keep your answers. In order to make sure your audience will understand the context, try to incorporate the questions into your answer. You also come across as more professional when you restate the questions. The key is to also tell a story by using imagery and rich descriptive words, instead of lecturing during the interview.

Practice makes perfect

Practice in front of a mirror and monitor yourself. You can also videotape yourself and play it back to judge your delivery. Watch out if you have any nervous ticks, repetitions and intonations. Don’t speak too fast nor too slow. Be natural and be yourself. And remember, If you are interviewed for a subject, it means that you are an expert on a certain field and the interviewer has recognized that and wants your valuable opinion.

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