The UK General Election - 4th July 2024

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How to nail your online media interview

Pre-pandemic, skype, zoom and facetime interviews were a big no-no for media outlets. If you couldn’t get into the studio, or they get a camera to you, the chances are your opportunity went out the window.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Online media appearances are now the norm, originally reserved for the absolutely necessity now they are commonplace. While doing an interview from the comfort of your own home may seem less daunting, there are a few more variables which you need to take control of, without the help of the in-studio team.

So how do you make your appearance impactful? We have a few key tips for you, given this shift is likely to continue.

1. Check your background

Yes, a bookcase may make you look incredibly learned – but the “Microsoft for dummies” book in the background that your audience will surely spot, whether it is yours or not, definitely detracts from your message. Also, bookcases are usually very busy spaces, which can create distractions. A plain and light background with some well-placed branding will serve you much better than a bookcase or a busy wall, so don’t be afraid to move from your normal spot to achieve this.

2. Think about your lighting and angle

A beautifully sunlit room can seem like the perfect place for an interview, until the clouds roll in and you are plunged into darkness. Avoid this distracting situation by ensuring that you have a steady light source shining on your face. A window on your righthand side will mean your left is in shadow, and a window behind you will show you as a silhouette, with little ability to see your facial expressions – avoid these if you can. Your angle is also important, consider raising your laptop and webcam to at eye level. Leaning over your keyboard may mean your audience gets a shot of your nostrils and won’t help with your posture.

3. Prepare your messaging in advance

You likely know this one and have four-plus pages of messaging prepared already. In a five-minute interview, you are likely to cover four to five key points. While having pages and pages of notes may be reassuring, it’s important to distil these points into easily digestible key messages which can form a key thread of your appearance. Think about what you really want to audience to take away and focus on communicating that, without getting bogged down in details and jargon.

4. Raise your energy

You’re sitting in a room alone, right? Wrong. You are presenting to hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of people. Its important to remember this and instil passion and inflection in your tone. Use pauses for emphasis and vary your tone to avoid monotony.

5. Lock the door

Following Professor Robert Kelly’s media appearance on relations between North and South Korea or Dr Clare Wenham’s discussion on Public Health England’s change in COVID lockdown policy, I would be tempted to ask you what their key points were. Unfortunately, I am sure you would find it hard to tell me. While these moments have become true pandemic sensations, we have been doing

this for a while now, and an interview interruption will only detract from your message and potentially derail your performance. Lock the door, let your housemates and family know that you are not to be disturbed and leave a note on the door if you are expecting any Amazon parcels – you can bet they will turn up right on queue!

PLMR’s highly experienced media trainers can help you prepare for any media or presentation scenario. Our training is available in person or remote and is tailored to your exact needs. Contact info@plmr.co.uk if you would like to know more.

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