How to Ace TV Interviews

Quick Tips:

1. You were chosen to be interviewed because the producer feels you are an expert in the field or have a great story/advice to share. Feel confident and take command of the topic!

2. Review and rehearse your messaging and soundbites

You are the ‘expert, so, therefore, know the material you will be covering in the interview. Think about your key points and the messaging you want to get across to the public. Interviews are typically 4 to 10 minutes, but often only soundbites are used. Rehearse prior to the interview so you are relaxed and ready to ace the interview.

3. Clothing: Crucial- Make Smart Choices

You are the interview- not your outfit!

The producer from the show often will call our office and alert us to the set colors and what colors not to wear. Avoid being a fashionista and put away any stripes, check, flora shirts or busy print dresses.

* You do not want to clash with the set or distract the audience by looking at your apparel choices instead of the valuable information you are sharing.

Look for bright and bold solid colors that flatter your skin tone. If you have a dark complexion lighter colors work. Many shows request the client should not wear stark white, as you can disappear into the set.

Women: Accessories

Rule #1- Keep to a minimum

Less is more- nothing too overwhelming

No dangly earrings or over chunk necklace.

Simple earrings, a watch or simple bracelet and a simple necklace

From pears to just a gold chain.

Men: Nice watch


Tie- if a formal business interview

4. Send Questions to the Producer

As the publicist, we speak with the producer prior to the live interview or the pre-tape.

We try to prep both the producer and the client, so there are no surprises. Many shows we have booked for clients have allowed us to send some interview questions on topics the client wants to talk about. This helps both the client and the anchor/ host keep the interview focused.

5. Speak Slow and Clear

Many people when nervous speak faster, try to pace yourself, eliminate the ‘umm and ahh’. You have a few precious minutes to get your message through to the audience.

Short concise responses will make your interview a hit!

6. Practice Before the Interview

Ask a friend or colleague to rehearse with you. I have had many clients record the ‘mock’ interview so you can watch and critique your speech pattern, body language and how you appear on camera. We have clients do this at least three times until they are pleased with the results. No actor goes on stage without rehearsals, so no ‘expert’ appearing in on a news or talk show should attempt this without rehearsals.

Most importantly, for many of us who speak with our hands, try to keep them by your side or on the news desk.

7. Listening to the Interview Questions When Live on Camera

Look in a mirror prior to the interview and imagine the interviewer

asking you a question. How do you look as you are listening, try to smile if appropriate, look concerned if a question is serious in nature, nod your head slightly if you are agreeing with what the interviewer is stating.

8. Forget you are on a National Interview

Many clients I have coached get nervous when they imagine thousands of people could be watching them. My advice is to imagine that the interview is a one on one discussion with the interviewer. The mind can play tricks on all of us, and you do not want to freeze due to nervousness in the middle of a live interview.

9. De-Stress Before Going Live on the Interview

I have been in many ‘green rooms’ with clients and we find it helpful to avoid reviewing the interview questions prior to going live. The prep should be completed days prior to the interview day.

I had a client appearing on Good Morning America and fifteen minutes before he was to go live, I saw the nerves begin to take over. I changed the topic and asked about his last family vacation to the Bahama’s. Now he was thinking about blue oceans and sandy beaches. He completely forgot he was nervous. A few minutes later our relaxed client got ‘miked’ and hit the set. The interview was a success.

These tips should help you ‘ace’ that broadcast interview!