Top five tips for a media interview at home

The in-studio interview has, like much of the Australian economy, gone into hibernation. It has been replaced by videoconferencing facilitated by a plethora of technologies.

Viewers of news and current affairs may well have noted the transition to people dialling to the studio from their laptop at home, and it has created a curiously voyeuristic experience for the audience – a bit like peering into the neighbour’s windows.

Humans are, after all, curious creatures and videoconferencing gives us a sneak peek into the lives of other people.

Keen-eyed watchers may note Scomo has a book on Napoleon (and Hawke, and Captain Cook, and the Menzies era of Australian politics) in the bookshelf backdrop of his Zoom interviews. Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has a book on Alibaba, the Chinese multinational technology company that when it was listed in 2014, was worth a staggering US$25 billion.

The trick for the new player making a debut for a television interview through teleconferencing is to sure they are the most interesting part of their interview – not the backdrop, the interruptions or the audio quality.

Whatever your chosen platform – Teams, Zoom, Webex, BlueJeans, Facetime, Skype – the rules of the game remain the same.

We’ve pulled our top five tips for a media interview at home.

Remember the infamous BBC interview where children interrupted a very serious discussion on North Korea? That’s exactly what we don’t want to happen. So, listen up!

  1. It might seem obvious but find a quiet spot in your home or office with good internet. All too often the dog is barking, children crying or a lawnmower hums in the background which takes away from what you’re talking about.                                                              
  2. There are plenty of distractions at home, but you shouldn’t take your eyes off the prize. Position your laptop or computer so it captures your upper body. When you’re on air look directly at the camera – don’t be distracted by the presenter on your screen. Viewers will trust and connect with you more when you look directly at them.                                                             
  3. Ensure your background is simple and clean and the room well lit. Just about every remote interview these days showcases the wealth of reading material many people have in their homes. There’s no easier way to look like a true professional than a well-stocked bookshelf and good light – people might find you interesting but television is a visual medium.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  4. Check the quality of your sound; wear headphones if needed. We’ve all been on conference calls where someone’s sounds drop in and out, cracklets and pops. The last thing you want when your conference audience is the whole country is bad sound. Make sure to double check it before jumping on air.                                                                                                                                                                                       
  5. Wear what you would to an interview in a studio! Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can wear your favourite Bintang singlet. You’re the expert representing your field, organisation or opinion – dress like it. Casual business attire is perfect.

At Clarity, we deliver media training for leaders and corporate executives, and we’ve developed a new module specially designed for videoconferencing interviews.

But the truth is, our training isn’t designed just to make you look good on camera – that’s (surprisingly) the easy bit.

Instead, our media training targets message crafting, creation and delivery aligned to your strategic goals, so you can speak with authenticity and confidence knowing your audience is receiving the right message.

The skills you develop can be relied upon whether you’re about come face-to-face with Leigh Sales on the 7.30 report, or are speaking to the local P&C about sporting equipment.

Author


Anthony Hasluck
Managing Director

Anthony is the majority owner of Western Australia’s largest independent public relations agency, Clarity Communications. In addition to his managerial and consulting activities connected with Clarity, Anthony is a Director of Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA).