As the man with the headset counts down from five, you stare nervously into the daunting camera lens, a pasted smile sitting right below your nose resembling more of a pained expression after drinking spoiled milk. The man with the headset points to you. As your mouth goes dry, your throat closes up and you forget your name and location, you simultaneously realize that “you’re live.”
In-studio segments, especially when they’re live, can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Even though we may be incredibly knowledgeable, passionate and well-spoken about our subject, the experience can be an awkward and sticky one. Since we’ve had our fair share of time in the hot seat and behind set cameras, Zenzi is taking the fear out of live television with tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years. Whether you’re coaching a client or you’re the lucky one in the hot seat, keep these points in mind to deliver a stellar, live performance each and every time.
Relax, breathe and smile!
Be positive and upbeat when talking about your subject – if you’re not interested, no one else will be.
Make sure you are making eye contact with the anchor, and not looking directly at the camera.
One morning, I was watching the Today Show and one of the guests repeatedly switched her glance from the anchor to the camera while she was speaking. I found myself incredibly uncomfortable because it was as if she was grilling me with her tips for saving money on house décor. Too intense for 8:00 am. When you’re on television, viewers appreciate seeing a relaxed conversation between you and the anchor. No need to make love to the camera.
As if the anchor is a colleague that you really like. Be professional, but friendly.
Rehearse your answers to common questions in short, quotable bites.
About 15-20 words per answer. Make sure your answers tie in your key messages.
No matter what industry you’re in, you know buzz words that normal viewers won’t know. Don’t confuse them. Your message will be lost if they’re off googling “incentivize.”
If you go blank or don’t know the answer, don’t panic!
Allow another team member to answer for you, or say you are unsure of the answer and allow the anchor to move on with the next question. Another great tip is to take one second after the interviewer finishes the question to take a breath, collect yourself and get your answer straight. This will also keep you from speaking too quickly, rambling or accidentally cutting the anchor short.
Be sure to mention the website for viewers to obtain additional information.
You’re ultimately there to promote your purpose, so do it!
Being on television is a great experience and a great platform to bring your business or purpose to life. It lets viewers put a face with the business and generates a greater following. So next time you’re in the hot seat, keep this tips in mind and knock it out of the park.
For some inspiration, check out some behind-the-scenes photos of one of our clients at the CW San Diego 6 and KUSI studios on our Facebook!