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How to Prepare for Being on TV

So I just did my first TV interview to promote my book.  Just as has been the case with this whole journey I am on, I had all the people around me that I needed in order to get prepared for this event.  It’s just incredible that, as soon as you start telling people what you’re doing, you find that the people that can help you – that want to help you – are right under your nose.  You have immediate cheerleaders, presuming that your cause, muse, project, etc…is one that they can get behind.

I talked to a former PR professional, a former reporter, a former TV executive and a friend who has done numerous interviews – all in preparation for a 2.5 minute spot.  All of the input they gave me was valuable and helpful and the interview went relatively well for a first-timer, but there is still some serious room for improvement.  Here are some tips for you if you happen to find yourself with an interview opportunity:

  • You probably won’t have a ton of guidance from the people at the studio.  They are busy and you are probably not going to send their ratings through the roof.  I’d venture to say that you need them as much as they need you – you need pub and they need to fill air space.  The fix – prepare not only your talking points, but ask questions about what TV studios are like.  Pose these questions to people in your network and/or the producer you’re working with.  Also, arrive early.  I got to watch about 45 minutes of the newscast prior to going on air.  This helped me get comfortable with my surroundings and see the who, what, when, where, how of a newscast and of that set.
  • You may not be face-to-face with your interviewer.  I can talk to just about anyone about anything, but I was talking to a camera and I think that stifled my personality a bit.  The fix – ask if it’s possible to sit beside the anchor.  If that’s a no-go, know that you’re going to need to eat the lens and pretend that it’s the person you’re talking to so that you can feel, and come off, like you’re having a normal conversation.
  • Don’t expect their questions to match your talking points.  I knew what I wanted to get across, but my manners took over and I wanted to answer the interviewers questions, too!  The fix – give short, yet valuable answers to the questions and then segue into the points that you want to make.

A great book about getting attention for whatever you’re doing is Step Into the Spotlight by Tsufit.  Happy TV’ing!

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