STV Interview Suzanne Doyle-Morris

Top 5 ways to prepare for your first TV interview

While I’ve done radio interviews before, STV had found me via my Ambassador role for Women’s Enterprise Scotland the day new research broke from the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission). It was a surprise when the call came for a television interview in less than 5 hours, but there was only one response, which leads me to my rule number 1:

1. Always say ‘yes’.

Unless you have another commitment you cannot change (and even then try to change it) say ‘Yes’. Producers are looking for contributors all the time, but they are like bosses – if you say no, they won’t necessarily ask the next time.

2. Get yourself to their studio.

Modern technology has given us the ability ‘dial in’ and while that works for 99% of all day to day interactions – it’s not great for television interviews. Get thee to the studio. Your home computer will never have the lighting, sound or tech support that their studio will have – and in television, half of success is looking and sounding like you belong on the screen. I got myself to a regional STV office, but the hour minute drive to Dundee at 10pm was still worth it to have the experienced camera man there so I could simply worry about my points – not whether my wifi connection would be strong enough.

3. Accept your 3 hours will be over in 3 minutes:

Resign yourself to the fact that the 3 hours it took you to prepare must be distilled to just 3 minutes of soundbites. Its humbling after background reading on the topic, the notes you wrote and then edited 3 times – but you will just be featured for just a few minutes. It’s like the marketing joke: ‘We know that only 20% of our marketing is working – but we just don’t know which 20%.’ Your 3 hours of prep will be vital, but you won’t know which 3 minutes will necessarily come up. Check out ‘Top 5 things to remember in the 3 minutes before you go live on your 1st TV Interview’

4. Personalise it for your presenter:

I spent time researching the other two contributors (ask ahead who they’ll be) so I knew what their likely take would be, but my husband encouraged me to research the television presenter as well. That meant I added a few soundbites specific to the Scottish workplace I knew he’d be interest in – something neither of the others covered. He gave me 4 questions to their 3 and 2 questions respectively. Related? Maybe not – but don’t take the chance.

5. Keep to 3 main points:

Just as I do for my Keynote Speeches, prepare the 3 key points you want to make after your initial brainstorm session on what might be covered. This organises your thoughts, makes it harder for you get off track and simplicity helps people remember both you and your message.

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