Four tips to look great on TV

June 5, 2013 • 2 minute read

Even for the most savvy of sources, interviewing in front of a camera can be intimidating. It’s anything but a natural setting, what with the lights, the camera, the action. Some of the smartest professionals can come off looking awkward and uncomfortable on the tube if they aren’t properly prepared. Luckily, following just a few simple tips can turn a stressful situation into a prominent and productive media opportunity:

Dress for success

When it comes to advantageously playing to the camera, it helps to keep a few basic style tips in mind. Don’t wear white, black, or red—each looks bad on TV owing to different technical reasons. Avoid stripes as well, as they are hard for the camera to pick up. Instead, try pastels and other soft colors that won’t distract from the main focus of the interview—your face.

Be authoritative

Maintain eye contact with the interviewer, not the camera, and deliver responses as if it were a phone interview. Because the interview can and will be edited, make the main point first, clearly and concisely, and then provide additional context. Try to speak in bullet points, keeping answers short and to the point. Be sure to always use complete sentences employing analogies and examples, rather than overly technical terms, and remember to avoid jargon and legalese. As is true with any public speaking opportunity it’s always important to speak slowly and clearly. So slow down — you’re probably talking faster than you think.

Let the mic do its job

On the audio check done before taping, speak at a normal voice level. Let the microphone work in your favor by talking “over” it (for example, if the interviewer is to the left, pin the mic on your left shirt pocket). During the interview, be sure to enunciate and maintain a constant volume throughout, except when appropriate to add emotion.

Be nice

Over the course of the interview, remember to be friendly, smile often, and try to focus attention always on the interviewer or other panelists. Also, avoid slouching, and maintain a posture that conveys energy and enthusiasm. Remember that the TV will accentuate good or bad facial expressions and friendly interviewees are the ones that are invited back time and again.