You are set to do a video interview – either for TV, social media, a commercial or just for fun. What now? First of all, take a deep breath, it’s not as hard as you might think. There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to get the best interviews for your video.
What to wear? This is one of the most common questions we get asked before doing an on-camera interview. First think about something you feel the most comfortable wearing. The better you feel about yourself, the better you will do in the interview. Your clothing should reflect your personality and be timeless. Generally, solid colors do look better on camera instead of busy stripes or patterns. Avoid wearing anything seasonal or holiday apparel. Pick colors that look the best with your complexion and try to avoid solid black and white. Most importantly, make sure your clothes fit well and are pressed.
Practice. Enlist someone to help you practice for the interview. You may not always know the exact questions the interviewer is going to ask but you probably have a good idea of the topics. DO NOT try to memorize anything. This NEVER comes across good on camera, no matter how good you think it sounds. Practicing just means getting comfortable talking about your subject matter out loud and to someone else. You can think of it like having a conversation with a friend, not practicing a speech.
Keep the message simple. When answering questions, try to keep your responses simple and easy to understand. Generally speaking, TV and other media outlets keep content at an 8th grade level of understanding so it can be used for the widest audience possible. So, think about what you are saying in that respect and it might make it easier to think of how to respond. Don’t use acronyms or high-level industry lingo unless that’s your target audience. Try not to stray from the topic or question asked.
Speak Slowly. If you think you are talking too slow, you are probably just about right. Before your interview, use your phone to record yourself talking. You might be surprised when listening back that you are talking much faster than you think. Not to mention, you may be a bit nervous for the interview and that can make you talk even faster. Take a minute to slow down and think about responding slower. You want to keep the conversation moving but you don’t want to talk too fast that you slur your words.
When possible, reword the question. If it sounds natural to do so, reword the question the interviewer asked you. For example, if the interviewer asks you, “Why did you decide to get your master’s degree?” You would answer, “I decided to get my master’s degree because XYZ,” instead of just launching into your answer like this, “I thought having it would help with future job opportunities down the road.” Make sense?
Think of every question as a new question. Sometimes the interviewer may ask you the same question again or reword a question they’ve already asked. When answering, try not to say, “Like I mentioned before,” or “Again XYZ.” Naturally, you may want to answer in that way because you have already covered that topic. It could be that they are trying to get you to say your answer in a different way or they can’t use what you said previously for one reason or another. Saying these extra words creates more work in post-production for the editor trying to cut out those words.
It’s OK if you mess up. Unless you are doing a live interview, you are most likely being recorded for something that will be edited together in post-production. If you say something that you want to say again, it’s OK to ask if you can start over. Remember, both you and the person interviewing you want the best product possible. Since it’s not something that is live, you can go back and restate or rephrase something if you would like.
Anything else? At the end of every interview, the person interviewing you will probably ask, “Is there anything else you would like to add?” This is a great way for the interviewer to make sure they didn’t forget anything and it’s also a good opportunity for you to let them know something additional that you didn’t get to say. If they don’t ask you this, don’t be afraid to ask, “Can I add one more thing?” Like we mentioned before, everyone involved wants the best possible product in the end, so if that means you suggesting something more to say, go for it!
We want you to act and feel like yourself. Your message will be accepted if your personality shines through in the video. And, remember, you are the expert. You are probably being interviewed because you know more about the topic than the person interviewing you. Be confident!
Follow these simple guidelines, try to relax and have fun! Think of it like you are just having a conversation with someone and there happens to be a camera there. It should feel like a casual conversation with a friend. You can do it!
But, wait – wouldn’t it be easier if we just had a teleprompter or cue cards?? Here is why we NEVER recommend this when it comes to prepping for an interview.
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