How Do I Handle the Reporter's Microphone?
The most important thing to do is NOT to think about the microphone. Instead focus on the reporter and look her or him in the eye and give your answers. Having something else to focus on, such as the reporter, will normally result in lowering any intimidation factor the microphone provides.
1. Assume the Microphone Is Always On
This is a simple message, but simple isn't always easy. I remember dropping an F-bomb when I was going to school at NAIT back in the 70's. The mic was on and I was embarrassed, but it served as a valuable lesson. Always act as though a microphone is on and remain on your best behaviour.
2. The Interview Isn't Over When It's Over
Many TV reporters have a tiny lav mic clipped on the person's lapel before the interview. Although the interview may seem to be over when you have answered your last question, your mic is still live and the camera is rolling. Everything you say is picked up and could potentially be used. This can include situations where you’re still talking to the reporter about something totally unrelated to your topic. Anytime a microphone is around assume it’s live and your comments could be recorded.
3. Don't Lean
There's no reason to lean into a microphone. Reporters know how far from it should be from your mouth, so there's no need to lean. A number of people I’ve done media training for feel the need to lean into the microphone as soon as they start speaking. There’s no need to do so. Allow the reporter to position the mic at a distance away from you so they can get the best sound. If you are soft spoken, chances are the microphone will be kept closer to you than someone with a louder voice.
4. It's Not Your Mic
I have seen some people try to hold the microphone as they're being interviewed. Don't because it's not yours. Reporters are told never to lose control of the mic and anyone trying to get it away from a reporter will be in for a tug-of-war. Frankly, it’s far easier to speak without holding the microphone because you have to make sure it’s the right distance from your mouth and you also can use both of your hands to hep you speak.
The key point to remember is not to think about the microphone. Assume the reporter is holding it in the right position and focus on the reporter as you speak, not the mic. In only in very rare cases does the reporter place the microphone too close or far away from you, so unless that happens, just focus on delivering your key messages during the interview as you practiced.
If you have a question you can’t find an answer to,