Seven tips for nailing your next on-camera interview

The advent of the likes of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have revolutionised how we use the internet, communicate and market ourselves and our brand.  Let’s face it, they’re brilliant tools and undoubtedly highly useful for all manner of things like, letting people know what we had for lunch, ranting about our train journey into work and… oh yes, and of course for getting our products and our brands out there to the general populous.  But, really, how useful is it?  Well, we think it’s really useful but, of course, we would, wouldn’t we.  Stay with me here, though because I’m going to tell you why.  Twitter, for example, allows you to engage with specific people, industries, and potential customers with 140 characters and now, you can attach video, links and images without using up your characters.  Facebook, along with Google Ads, uses social media to target your product to the people most likely to be interested in them… it’s genius when you think about it.

Often, the most successful brands have a human being behind them… think about it, we instantly associate Virgin with Richard Branson, Dyson hoovers with James Dyson, Apple with Steve Jobs.  These guys were at the forefront of their marketing campaigns so it’s likely that, at some point, you might have to go before the camera and sell yourself as part of your brand.  Now, this is where the rubber hits the road, because there’s nothing worse than watching some lethargic, fidgety CEO talking about his company looking like he or she would rather be anywhere else in the world than in front of that camera.  So what can you do?  Is it possible to improve your on-camera presence when you’re presenting yourself either alone on camera or as part of an interview?  We believe you can and here are our seven top tips for success on camera…

Tip 1 – Preparation

It sounds obvious but it’s perhaps the most important principle – there’s nothing worse than watching someone obviously thrown by a question or umming and ahhing their way through the questions.  If you can, ask the interviewer for the questions in advance of the filming day.  This allows you to think through your responses in advance and consider how you might want to respond, particularly if there might be contentious issues being discussed and you really want to make sure you are careful and measured in your responses.  Whilst preparation is key, don’t think about writing a script and learning it; it will come across as fake and disingenuous.  Much better to be familiar with your material and thoughts and talk from the heart.    

Tip 2 – Relax

Ok, so you’re nervous.  I get it… it’s really scary, especially if you haven’t been in front of a camera before.  Figure out how you can get your nerves out before you get in front of the camera.  It might be that you go for a run in the morning or hit the gym hard, take yourself off to a quiet space and listen to some classical music or a bit of Metallica depending on your musical tastes.  Whatever it is for you, make sure you do it.

Tip 3 – Be yourself

This is key in coming across well on camera.  Think about what you wear and check in with the camera crew as some stripes and crazy patterns don’t work well on camera but where you can wear clothes that you’re comfortable in and reflect who you are as a person.  Remember to smile and talk to the camera or your interviewer like you would if you were having coffee with your friend.  That news reader voice you’ve been working on… it isn’t you so leave it behind.

Tip 4 – Body Language

Remember that we are always communicating even when we are not saying anything.  You want to communicate positively with your body as well as with your words.  I would really recommend watching Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on the subject of body language (viewable here) but as a basic rule, sit up straight, harness that nervous energy and use it in your voice and through your body.  Fake it until you become it – positive open body language will go a long way to you beginning to feel confident in front of the camera. If you’re anything like me, you might be a huge gesticulator and talk with your hands.  That doesn’t really work on camera so you’ll have to work hard not to throw your hands everywhere. Make sure you check with the camera crew what your range of movement is on camera.

Tip 5 – Keep hydrated

Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Especially when you’re a bit nervous it’s really easy to get ‘dry mouth syndrome’ and it’s really hard work to talk with a dry mouth.  Make sure you take sips before hand and don’t be frightened to take a water break to rehydrate – it’s also a good way of being able to take a moment to calm yourself if you need to.

Tip 6 – Breathe

Seriously – remember to breathe.  Often what happens, especially when we’re nervous, is we rattle through the material or the questions in order to get it over and done with. Speaking really quickly without taking a breath is a sure fire way to ensure the viewer switches off!  Take a few deep breaths after the director calls ‘action’ and pace yourself.  Make sure you take a breath at the end of each sentence.  If possible, get someone to film you talking on your camera phone first and then watch it back – how did it come across?  I can pretty much guarantee you speak quicker than you think.

Tip 7 – Check in with the crew

Ok, let’s manage expectations from the outset.  It’s unlikely you’re going to be a ‘one-take wonder’.  There might be various reasons for re-takes.  Don’t take it personally and check in with the crew to see if there is anything they think you need to adjust, whether it’s your tone, position or your movement in front of the camera.  Even the best presenters and actors need a couple of takes!

Follow these tips and see how you get on.  Why don’t you connect with us on twitter or facebook and let us know how you found this helpful.

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