How to prepare yourself to be a virtual expert resource

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Photo by Petr Machacek on Unsplash

As media outlets continue to report the news about COVID-19, there are various other stories that need still need to be told, whether directly related to the pandemic or not.

But television and radio stations are now saying they aren’t allowing in-studio guests for the foreseeable future.  They are cancelling live remotes and on-location shoots.

One of the services we offer our clients is media training, helping our clients craft their key messages in order to position them to be expert resources to the media.  Part of that training is preparing them for on-camera interviews.

Some of helpful interview tips include:

  • Clothing – classic clothing is best. Simple lines and plain patterns work best.  Avoid checks, plaids, herringbones or anything “busy.”
  • Colors – bright colors generally look great, blues and grays with a bright accent color will work.
  • Glasses – if you don’t have to wear them great. Glasses tend to pick up lights and don’t show as well.
  • Hair – keep if off your face.

But what happens when the interview needs to take place remotely, via Skype or some other video –conferencing platform?  Beside the tips above, what other things should you consider?

  • While Zoom is commonly used for video conferencing, many TV and radio stations prefer Skype for remote interviews. Make sure you have the latest version of the software installed and familiarize yourself with the features. Before the interview, close all other programs on your computer, turn-off notifications and double-check that the correct webcam and microphone are selected in the Skype settings. Do a practice interview to make sure your setup works flawlessly and to get comfortable looking into the camera.
  • Most computers today have a camera and mic. Test the sound quality before your interview.
  • Pay attention to what’s going on over your shoulder. Make sure that what is being captured on screen is not distracting to the viewer. Can you do the interview in a quiet room, with a plain background?
  • It is important to be well-lit without glare or shadows on your face. You can use natural light by facing towards a window and putting the camera between you and the light source.
  • Sit up straight and sit forward in the chair.You’ll appear more authoritative and less likely to slouch below the camera angle.
  • Try not to talk with your hands. In-person this may help you emphasize a point.  But done remotely may cause too much of a distraction.
  • “Look” the reporter in the eye. It is possible you may be on a split screen so “looking” at the reporter is easier. But if not, be sure to look directly into the camera.  Don’t forget to be expressive. Yes, you’re alone in a room, looking into a little camera. But you still want to come across as lively, warm, and engaged. Keep your hands by your side and let your face do the work.

 

 

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

1 Comment

  1. Abbie, invaluable and timely tips. Thanks so much for sharing. Cheers, David

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