Preparing for an Interview
When you are asked to do an interview, it is very important to find out what sort of interview you are going to do. If it's a satellite interview or a live interview versus a prerecord interview, you are going to prepare things very differently. This video works through some of the different interview environments.
What to wear in an Interview
First impressions count, so what do you wear in an interview? For ladies, don’t wear a dress. It’s better to wear a skirt with a top and blazer. When you are getting mic-ed up, it can be embarrassing to have to stick a microphone cable up your dress. For men, blazers and ties are imperative. So what colour do you go for? Anything pastel, baby blue, baby pink, lilac. Stay away from heavily patterned clothing, anything with pin-stripes; it does something called strobing under studio lighting. Whites are also not a good colour to wear - they come out very bright on camera. Women stay away from lots of jewelry, anything that makes a lot of noise while you are on camera is bad, anything that distracts from what you are saying is also bad.
Anyone can ask questions, the real talent is in answering them. If you listen to any great communicator, you will hear how they talk in sound bites: a 10 second phrase that captures the essence of what you are trying to say, used to summarize information and entice the viewer. Your aim is to create neat and clean sound bites that are clear, without waffling.
By Ashlea Harvey
Published in Business Brief
In the HOT seat – You’re it!
Businesses are faced with a skeptical a public. It seems we live in the age of the headline, and packaging your business’ media image to grab a person’s attention in short sound bites is imperative. There are ways to present a cohesive message, but it requires training and practice, even for the most media-savvy individual.
There is very little difference between the media confident veteran and yourself, other than the fact that they have practice being in front of the camera. They too, at some point in their media appearances, have blundered answers, waffled through an interview, and perhaps swayed in their chair. But it is only through training and practice that they have ironed out their flaws and transformed themselves into a captivating communicator.
There are several common tactics that all successful interviewees have mastered. They understood that:
•Authenticity and competence needed to be portrayed in their delivery.
•Body language is one of the main contributors to the success of an interview.
•Something as simple as not looking into the lens or darting one’s eyes can make the viewer think you are avoiding the questions or being dishonest, while someone who sits upright and relaxed, using hand gestures, is received with authority and sincerity.
•Less is more. Say only what you need to, and only what strengthens your key messages.
•Wafflers are the worst contenders. Saying too much dilutes your message and makes the audience think you do not know what you are talking about. You should go into an interview with 3 key messages, which are tailored to your audience.
•Pauses allow you to think about what you want to say before you say it.
•Taking a breath before answering, gives you time to formulate a concise response and also makes you appear relaxed and composed.
•Bridging to key messages allows you to get your messages across, regardless of the interviewers questions.
•The most artful individual can take one question, answer it, and then take the reigns of the interview, leading it to the areas they want to talk about. Linking phrases should be second nature, such as:
“Let me add…”
“Another thing to remember is…”
“Just as important is…”
•Statistics and facts add credibility to your message.
•Statistics and facts are what make what you believable and put what you are talking about into perspective for the audience. Always come into an interview prepared with a list of statistics or numbers.
•Adding personal anecdotes and experiences personalize your message and make you seem like a member of the general public with shared interests to the viewer.
•If the reporter throws a curve ball question, you can buy time before answering by asking the reporter to confirm whether you understand the question correctly or simply commenting on the question.
•One of the greatest responses I have heard turned a tense situation into humour: “Well, Ashlea, that’s the million dollar question of the day, isn’t it? And a tough one to answer…”
Warren Buffet says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it”. When you take that into consideration, you realize the implications or opportunities a media appearance presents, and with the viral effect of social media today, you should be sure that when you’re on camera and in the hot seat, you’re prepared
There are a number of fundamental things to remember when you take a step under the spotlight.
By Ashlea Harvey
Published in Inspire Magazine
Beat the Bloopers
During my time as a TV reporter, it was way too often that I sat across from the camera, interviewing someone who I just knew, was on a devastating road to self-destruction. The blunders, the waffling, and the one-word answers don’t even touch the tip of the iceberg of the damage that every word is leaving. Not all publicity is good publicity. There are a number of fundamental things to remember when you take a step under the spotlight.
Firstly, know what you’re getting into. If you are asked to do an interview, make sure you know who is interviewing you, what their style is, what topics they will be asking you about, and how much time you’ll have. This will lay the groundwork for your agenda, because you only accept an interview, if you have your own agenda, of course.
So, once you’ve done your homework, and you know what to expect and what audience you’ll be talking to, you can then go about constructing the key messages you’d like to get across. They should be concise, coherent and brief (not more than a sentence). You will generally only have 3 messages in an interview.
Now, you have to tell it to sell it. The secret is to be an honest, informative, descriptive and open storyteller. Your story should have a beginning, middle and end. Be sure on where each of these is, as you will need this to get to the point, if you get side tracked. Remember, always put your main points first, and then elaborate to create colour around the message.
Delivering your messages is all about talking smart. Know how to bridge from a difficult question to slipping one of your key messages in, by adding bridges, such as “Let me add…” or “Another thing to remember is…” When answering the reporter, talk in soundbites - 20-second phrases that capture the essence of what you are trying to say, used to summarize information and entice the viewer. Your aim is to create neat and clean sound bites that are clear, without waffling.
While mastering the art of the killer interview takes more time and practice, if you follow these simple rules, your first media appearance won’t appear in the Blooper Roll.