Top 10 TV/Radio Interview Dos and Don’ts

So your moment of fame has arrived. Recognition at last. You’ve been asked to go on air to talk about your life and times. So many things to think about. What will you wear? What will you say? How will you comport yourself? Well here’s our Top 10 TV/Radio Interview Dos and Don’ts to make sure that your day in the sun doesn’t leave you in the eye of a storm…

  1. Do a recce of the location—know where the studios are and assess how long it takes to get there, giving yourself additional time should things go wrong—such as being held up by a traffic accident or a punctured tyre!
  2. Don’t drink before an interview—we have all too often seen the results of interviewees being slightly the worse for wear after having one too many, just to be sociable, of course.
  3. Do know that once you are in front of a microphone or a camera that you may be recorded at any time. Remember George Bush and “Yo Blair!”. If you’re wearing a lapel mike, turn it off when you go to the bathroom and save everyone’s flushes, ahem, blushes.
  4. Do turn off your radio if you are being interviewed at home or in the office—nothing worse than live feedback. Bad enough for the audience and even worse for the presenter who hears it amplified though their headphones. Oh, and turn off call waiting on your landline and your mobile phone too—yes you know you are on the radio.
  5. Situate yourself in front of some company branding if you are being filmed outside your premises, e.g. company sign or pull-up stand. Wearing the company polo shirt is probably slightly excessive and may mean that they only show your face—UP CLOSE!
  6. Don’t wear that fancy new pin-stripe suit you bought last week. It may cut quite a dash in the board room, but causes cameras to go seriously wonky and our attention gets diverted to the razzle-dazzle clothing you are wearing. Same goes for herringbone and check.
  7. Do suck a sweet if your mouth is dry—but don’t forget to swallow it or dump it before the interview. Have a glass of water handy too.
  8. Do try and look relaxed. If your hands are shaking, place them on the table or clench them a couple of times—that normally does the trick. Don’t cross your arms. That gives everything away.
  9. Do listen back to the interview if it’s pre-recorded (you or someone else will hopefully have recorded it on a smart-phone device)—if there’s something really, really important that you’ve missed, tell the journalist and, you never know, they might include it in their introductory remarks.
  10. Finally, don’t say “I’m glad you asked me that” or “that’s a very good question”. Please, don’t do it! The ground might open up beneath you.

Of course, if you have any tips of your own, don’t keep them to yourself. Share. If you would like to organise a media training seminar for your organisation, please get in touch.