5 Tips to Ace Your First TV Interview

For many people appearing on TV for the first time can be a daunting experience, but with the right preparation it’s easy to minimise risk of things going wrong and ensure you come across as both professional, authoritative and memorable.

Here are a few insiders’ tips that will increase your chances of being booked again.

  1. Preparation: First and foremost get prepared – know what time you need to be at the studio and who you should ask for once there. There are no silly questions – if you’re not sure where to look when the cameras are rolling be sure to ask.
  2. Know they want you to do well: Unless you’ve being grilled for a hard hitting news story, the producers and hosts want you to do well on TV – it’s their job to pick good ‘talent’ and if you turn out to be a dud, it means that they didn’t do their job.
  3. Think in sound bites: Most lifestyle TV segments are around three to five minutes long, if you’re on the evening news, the story is more likely under two minutes. When you’re doing the interview, keep your answers short, generally around 15-30 seconds is a good rule of thumb.
  4. Appearance: Your first time on TV is not the time to experiment with a new look – choose an outfit that you’re comfortable in and that looks great on you. Ladies steer clear of short skirts if you’re on the couch for morning shows. Definitely no thin stripes (they warp on TV). If make-up is offered – say yes, even men, they know what looks good on camera.
  5. Control your body language: There’s nothing worse than having a flying hand cut through the shot, it will drive editors crazy, so try to rest your hands casually on your lap when you’re being interviewed. Also stand, or sit straight, when you’re being interviewed – you’ll kick yourself if you’re slouching on-shot.