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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

You’re Booked for a Live TV Appearance, Now What

By Sarah Scalese, Account Supervisor, Corporate/Nonprofit Group

If you’re working with a good PR agency, such as SA (shameless plug!), your team has probably booked or will be booking live television appearances on your behalf. Your first reaction may be excitement, but for many, especially those who have never appeared on live TV, your next emotion may be anxiety. Before you panic and request prescription drugs, our team has some easy steps you can take to ensure a painless and fun television experience:

  • Prepare and determine in advance the important points you want to cover
  • Dress professionally, avoid patterns and bright colors – a dark suit is appropriate for both genders or a cardigan set is a nice alternative for women
  • Avoid white shirts as they reflect—remember everyone looks good in blue
  • Be aware of your body language: sit up straight and project confidence—no tapping or reading your notes
  • Draw from your background, expertise and research (Remember, you’re the expert, no one knows the topic better than you do)
  • Guide the content of the interview: you are in control
  • Bridge away from topics you want to avoid and loop back to your key messages—no matter what the question
  • Try to mention your company during the interview at least once.  For example, if you are doing a live interview on a local morning news program about your latest new product, you might say: “At (Insert Name of Your Company), we work with our clients to identify their needs and build those needs into our products.”  Remember, it takes a least seven brand encounters for a consumer to retain your brand’s message
  • This is live television: There are no “redos,” so say what you mean and mean what you say. (Always assume you’re on air, until a producer or anchor say otherwise)
  • Treat your appearance as if it were a conversation with one of your friends, colleagues or family members, which will make you feel more relaxed
  • Make sure you look where the camera crew tells you—don’t look around. Look at the host or the camera—depending on your instructions
  • Remember, there is no such thing as off the record (even if the microphone is turned off) and avoid saying no comment at all costs

Finally, as unlikely as it may sound, try to enjoy your appearance. Throughout the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients, booking segments, preparing them for “soft pitch” and probing interviews and providing post-interview debriefs. We’ve learned that the clients who prepare, practice and enjoy the experience –are often the ones who perform the best!

Sarah Scalese

Sarah Scalese, Account Supervisor for our Corporate/Nonprofit Group

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