How to prep for an on-camera interview
The need for entrepreneurs to look and sound good on camera is increasingly common these days, with the majority of consumers expecting to find video when they’re researching who to do business with, regardless of industry.
I received several comments and questions after a previous column on how to put your best foot forward on screen, so let’s dig a little deeper with additional tips on being ‘interviewed’ on camera. Whether your business has attracted media attention, or it’s creating online video for promotional purposes, you need to know how to tell your story.
Once the camera crew is set up and getting ready to hit record, you’ll be positioned in front of the camera, fitted with a microphone and asked to speak for a few seconds so the audio levels can be perfected. If it’s a Q&A-style process, interviewers will stand to one side of the camera, and you’ll be asked to look at them rather than look into the lens.
Think of it as a conversation – you’re answering questions about something you know, so there’s no need to be nervous. Unless you’re filming live-to-air, everything is edited, and only your best soundbytes will be used.
Look into my eyes
Some people feel uncomfortable staring into a camera and delivering lines, or reading from a script, which is why the “interview” approach often yields better, more natural results that resonate well with viewers. You and your interviewer usually have a chance to develop some rapport, whether it be from previous conversations or during a review of the messaging before getting started.
Think of it this way: you are explaining something to a colleague or a friend. That can take some of the pressure off. Take a deep breath, relax and keep your eyes locked on the interviewer to prevent them from darting around the room.
You’ll know the topic ahead of the interview or, in the case of a business video production, the exact messaging points to be covered. You may even have written your answers down, whether scripted or just bullet points. The latter is best – don’t try to memorize your lines word for word, it will come across that way and therefore appear unnatural.
If you know the main points you want make, it’s easier to weave them into the conversation rather than attempt to deliver a hard script. When working with a video production company, the producer will make sure you are making all planned points and offer suggestions as required. If something you say doesn’t come across the way you want it to, just stop and start your answer again. That’s part of the beauty of editing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The goal is to come across as the expert, and express yourself with confidence. This will be determined by what you say, but also by how you say it. Don’t sway or fidget. Keep your shoulders back, your chin up and smile.
Stepping into the video spotlight offers tremendous benefits for businesses and brands these days, and it allows you to engage and connect with potential customers. Looking for more help to increase your on-camera confidence and skills? Feel free to post questions or comments below or to contact me through social media.
Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency.