Being on-camera doesn’t always come naturally to people, so it pays to be prepared. Here are seven tips to help you with your next on-screen appearance.
1. Up the Energy: TV and Skype tends to flatten your presence so it is vital to inject energy into your delivery and present with passion.
What might feel over the top or unnatural in a training scenario can look or sound just fine when you watch yourself back.
So be yourself but be the most passionate and energetic version of you.
2. Don’t be afraid to use your hands: We gesture with our hands in everyday conversation quite naturally because it can help us get our messages across so we should do the same thing when we are being interviewed.
The trick is not to fall into the trap of worrying about your hands! Just use them as you would in any other conversation.
Don’t have them in your pockets, behind your back, clasped or crossed.
3: Posture: Slumping in a chair might feel comfortable but it looks awful on camera. It also reduces your energy level. So lean forward a little with your feet firmly planted on the floor. You might prefer to be interviewed standing up so experiment and work out what feels best for you.
4: Where do I look?: Maintain eye contact with the interviewer because a lack of eye contact can convey defensiveness, shiftiness and nervousness. Simply lock eyes with the interviewer and ignore the camera.
With Skype or remote interviews, you will need to look straight into the camera. Visualise someone you know and think of the camera as that person.
You might be given an earpiece to use or a mobile phone on hands-free enabling you to hear the questions.
If you are asked to be a guest on a TV show where you are appearing remotely, make sure you look into the camera the whole time because you could be put on screen at any time even when another guest is giving their answer.
Remember not to swivel in your chair as it is distracting for a viewer.
If you are put on a swivel chair, try to get it locked in place before the interview.
5: Smile: A slight smile is essential on camera otherwise you run the risk of looking like you are frowning because the camera minimises and flattens your appearance. A slight smile (which won’t necessarily be noticeable to the viewer) will help you appear neutral whereas a blank expression can make you appear bored even though you are happy to be there because you’ve agreed to the interview!
6: What do I wear?: If you are appearing on camera, it is best to wear clothes that don’t ‘do’ anything. Plain, solid colours work best. Anything that is too busy like checks, stripes and polka dots can look like it is vibrating on television.
Blues, greys and pastels are the safe bets.
7: Slap on the Makeup!: If you are asked to appear on a television program (as opposed to a quick appearance on the news or your own media opportunity) you will be made up by a makeup artist. It is worth checking beforehand that is will occur. If not, apply your own. For male clients, all you need is a bit of foundation (powder from a compact) lightly brushed on your face, ears and neck.
The most famous makeup faux pas was Richard Nixon’s in a televised political debate against John F Kennedy in 1960. Nixon refused to wear makeup and looked blotchy while JFK was made up and appeared fine.
TV viewers overwhelming declared JFK the winner whereas the people listening on radio called it a draw. Don’t let simple wardrobe, hair or makeup mistakes work against you.
If you’re looking for advice for your next television interview, Media Success can help. Find out more about the different types of media training we provide here.