The problem is, many people being interviewed still don't know how to do them correctly. I still see at least three mistakes they make.
Look at Me!
Seriously people. It’s almost been three years since you started doing TV interviews over video and most of you still don’t understand where to look when you’re being interviewed? C’mon.
I’ve been writing about this since shortly after the pandemic started. You need to look at the camera on your computer or phone when you answer questions from the reporter. This isn’t rocket science, but I still see over half, and maybe as many as three quarters of the people interviewed over video looking somewhere else – usually at themselves on their computer monitor.
You need to understand you can change your look for the better (by a lot) by looking at the camera when you speak. It adds to your credibility and you look far more confident when you do.
Imagine sitting across from somebody you’re having lunch with and the person keeps talking to you, but they’re looking at your right shoulder, or past your left ear. It would be awkward and uncomfortable. It’s the same watching people do interviews this way on TV.
“Hey, I’m over here!” I’ve said more than I want to think about when I watch interviews on TV.
I’ve worked on this for well over two years when I do media training virtually. Quite often people don’t understand what I’m talking about until they see their interview played back on video and notice they’re not looking at the camera. I’m not saying making this change is easy, but it needs to be done.
Train yourself to look at the green light when you speak. Try it and see the difference.
The second thing I’ve harped on (with little success apparently) is the need for people to raise the level of their computer, so the camera is at eye level.
I still see far too many people plop a laptop in front of them on a desk, plant their elbows on the desk and stare down into the screen of the laptop.
I call this the “nostril shot” because the camera shoots right up the person’s nose. It often draws bright ceiling lights into the shot too, making the look even worse.
I see a lot of pro athletes being interviewed from home or a hotel room and they make this mistake. I wonder why the team’s PR people don’t talk to the jocks and get them to make some changes. It’s like the athletes are on their own, but they shouldn’t be. Interviews that make the athlete look bad reflect on them and the team’s brand.
The solution costs nothing. Grab a few books from your bookshelf, or a small box from storage and put your laptop on top. If the camera on the laptop is at eye level, you’ve just improved your look at 100% and it doesn’t cost a penny.
Lose the Headset
I might be wrong about this, but I’m seeing more people wear headsets with a microphone when doing TV interviews over video these days.
If we are, we’re going in the wrong direction.
Headsets like this may be good for football coaches, or pilots, but they’re not good when you’re being interviewed. It distracts from your look, especially if the headset is bulky.
Now that you’ve raised the level of your laptop (see above) there’s lot of room to set an external microphone in front of you on a small stand. They just plug into a USB port on your computer and you’re good to go. Zoom, or whatever online platform you’re using, will find the microphone and dramatically improve the quality of your audio.
If you’re playing your cards right, people watching the interview won’t be able to see the microphone, but your sound will be just as good as the headset delivers. In fact, it might be better because some of those headset mics make you sound like an airline pilot before takeoff. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking…..”
There are three parts to any media interview over video – how you look, how you sound and what you say. Fixing the technical issues should be the easiest thing to do.
Now that I’ve got those three things off my chest I feel better. Just don’t get me started about the use of fake or blurred backgrounds.