A videotaped interview, whether it will be broadcast or played in-house, is an excellent opportunity for you to advance your ideas, introduce a new policy, or bring people up to date on issues affecting your organization and industry. Here's how to get good ratings:

  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. The cameras are the responsibility of the camera people and director. Stay consistently focused on the interviewer and let the techies take care of the rest.
  • Listen to the entire question. If you assume you know the whole question when only half of it has made it past the interviewer's lips, you may find yourself wiping egg off your face.
  • Don't interrupt! It's bad manners, and it robs you of valuable thinking time. An interview isn't a game show where the fastest answer wins.
  • When you answer, keep it brief. Stick to the point and you'll give your audience the best opportunity to understand and remember your message.
  • Posture Counts. If you're sitting, rest your hands comfortably on your knees. Do not rest your elbows on the arms of the chair. If you're standing, keep your arms relaxed at your sides when not using them to gesture. Remember, facial reactions to questions can communicate before you answer. Keep your body upright. Err to the side of optimism.
  • If you don't have an answer, say so. If it's appropriate, let the interviewer know that you will find the answer and publish it after the interview.
  • Stick to your point. Don't allow yourself to be pulled into a discussion on unrelated issues. Agree on what you are prepared to talk about before the interview. If the interviewer attempts to pull you off your agenda, bridge your comments back to the point you want to make.
  • Look like you belong on television. Men and women: stick to gray and blue tones. Use a burgundy or another subdued color tie (or scarf). Jewelry should not be dangling, large, or shiny. Make sure your jacket or blouse has a convenient place for clipping a microphone near the center of your chest. Hair styles should be neat and stay in place off your face. Most important, wear a pleasant expression on your face.

When you're being interviewed on camera, you can come across as just another talking head. Or, you can cut a sharp image that people will remember. It's up to you.

Reprinted from PS for Business Communicators®, ECG's client newsletter.