Ninja Interviews

by Gigi Barnett

Video camera viewfinder - recording show in TV studio - focus on camera
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Got a live TV interview coming up? Five easy hacks to crush it!

I laughed out loud the other day when I googled, “top ways to nail a live TV interview,” and the best advice from a reputable source was:

“Get a professional media trainer.”

That’s it? That’s the best you’ve got…hire a pro?

No need to go that route. Your expert is here.

I’ve trained hundreds of executives, coaches and consultants on what to do before, during and after an interview. And, what to say and where to look can be tricky (those black robotic cameras are scary).

First, get rid of the nerves.

There’s no need to worry about not looking like the brilliant expert that you are. Have confidence that you know your business like the back of your hand. And, there’s no question about your brand that you can’t answer.

That leads to the second thing to do: collect your thoughts.

Television interviews only last between two and three minutes (and those are the long ones). It’s over before you know it. So, a host really doesn’t have much time to go in-depth on your revised marketing plan or latest business partner.

Think of the top three points you want to make and put a person’s face to it.

For example, let’s say your business has been tapped to go on a local or national TV show because it’s partnering up with the city to hire more teens this summer.

This could be a brief list of your key takeaways:

  • why your company is getting involved. What’s the backstory?
  • how your company will teach valuable skills to these young workers.
  • what is the overall benefit for the city: after all these teens are the future workforce.

Now, bring it all home and make your points powerful by thinking of a teen in the program and telling their story with those aspects in mind.

Third, a great interview is like a conversation with a friend, effortless and engaging. And, that’s what makes the audience pay attention.

Think of the viewers as observers, like guests in a restaurant seated next to your table. They get to eavesdrop on an interesting chat and walk away with some great information.

Sidebar, I get this question a lot: where do I look during the interview and what do I do with my hands?

Let’s go back to the restaurant. If you’re having lunch with a friend, are you concerned about where to look and what to do with your hands? Nope.

You calmly look at your friend, instead of darting your eyes to the other tables. And, your hands are rested in a comfortable position.

So, that’s what you do…look at the interviewer and loosen up.

If you gesture with your hands while talking, that’s OK; because, natural movements make you look relaxed and relatable.

Next, make sure everyone knows about your three minutes of TV fame before you arrive and when you leave the studio.

A good public relations team should do this for you. But, if you don’t have one make sure you track every part of the process over social media.

For instance, before the interview, tell your tribe that you’ve been tapped to go on the show. On the day of, take a picture before the interview; and, create a brief post reminding your followers to tune in. And when the interview is over, link it to your website so everyone can see it over and again.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t reward you with one last tidbit (just for sticking with me on this). Television is a visual medium. The way you look counts.

If you need to make a trip to your hairstylist or visit a department store make-up artists…do it. One of my former professors use to say, “The television eye doesn’t lie.”

But the proper make-up, hairstyle and attire will put you in the right light.

As a former television anchor…trust me!

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