Editor’s Note: With workforce changes happening almost overnight across the nation, many of us now meet virtually from our homes. This article, while originally targeted at people preparing to remotely appear on television, gives some excellent tips on how to make sure you present your best every time via video. Regardless of whether you’re being interviewed, interviewing, or simply meeting with your team to discuss the assignments of the day, we wish everyone the best of luck in these trying times.
We live in a golden age of video conferencing on national TV news shows, especially with social distancing protocols. News shows are relying on remote experts now more than ever. This is a great opportunity for your brand to speak to key issues that people care about. But not all video conferencing call-in interviews are created equal.
Unless you’re a first responder calling in from a hospital or emergency location, your remote video interview should look as professional as possible. Here are some simple tips to help you look professional and be taken seriously.
- Elevate the Camera
Your camera should be at eye-level, not above you, and not below you. Put your laptop or monitor on a few large books if you have to. No one wants to look up your nose. Also, this is a good time to trim those nose hairs!
- Illuminate Yourself
You may need to bring more lights into the room so you can be seen, but try to keep the colors matching. Some lights give off a warm glow, others give off a cool glow. Try to be consistent. If you’re doing interviews regularly, consider some kind of lighting system.
- Use Small Headphones
Run your audio through a good pair of headphones headphones to avoid feedback (echo, echo, echo). Use a small pair of headphones and test them first. Wear one side only and try to hide the wire as best you can.
- Dress Appropriately
Wear something professional that you look good in. Make sure it fits and that you’re comfortable in it. Don’t wear stripes or busy patterns because they tend to “move on their own” when on video. Keep your background in mind and try not to blend into it.
- Reduce Bling
This is not the time to wear statement jewelry, or loud prints. Your appearance should be professional and subtle so people can focus on what you’re saying.
Twenty minutes before you go live, look at your face critically in the light you’ll be shooting in. Do you need a concealer for a flare up? Are you a little shiny, in need of a dusting of powder? Do whatever touch ups you need to. Keep your makeup professional and subtle.
- Remember Your Pets
Take your pet’s collars off so they don’t jingle. Remember to put them back on after. If you have active pets put them in another room until the interview is over.
- Chose a Background
Avoid an open window (you’ll look like a silhouette). A bookcase or decorated wall can be a good option. Try to pick something with visual interest that isn’t too distracting.
- Let Your Household Know When You’ll Be On
Make sure others in your household know you’ll be “live” and unavailable at the time you’ll be on the air. Try and sequester yourself to your recording area at least five minutes before the show. Remember to leave a note on the outside of the door saying when the shoot is over, and lock your door if you can.
- Make a Checklist
Make an easy-to-read checklist of your talking points so you can glance at them if you get lost. Include the name of the person interviewing you. Try not to rely on them, but know they’re there if you need it.
- Have a Glass of Water Nearby
Keep a glass of water nearby because it’s easy to get dry when you’re in the spotlight. Keep it out of the shot of the camera, but close enough to grab.
- Turn Your Cell Phone Off
Unless you’re doing the interview from your cell phone, turn it completely off to avoid signal interference. Make sure you’re in a cell-phone free zone, as any cell phone can cause interference.
- Close All Other Applications
Close all other applications on your computer and other websites you may be on. You don’t want your interview interrupted by random sounds and notifications.
Exercise Your Face and Voice
Warming up your face and voice, especially if you haven’t’ talked to anyone in a while, makes you look more alive to the folks at home watching you on their TV. Remember; your face, on their screen, will be much bigger than it is in real life. A few minutes before you go live, exercise your face by making silly expressions. Sing a line from your favorite song. Take some slow deep breaths and center yourself.
- Look At The Camera (Not the Screen)
Remember to focus on the camera, as if it were the interviewer’s eyes. It will make it look like you’re looking directly at the audience. Don’t look at the screen during the interview, because, to the audience at home, you’ll be looking down. Now that you know this, you’ll see it everywhere.
- You Can Do It!
These simple things add up to a better remote interview; one that connects viewers to the story and to you as an expert. Keep practicing and putting yourself out there as an expert in your field. You can do it.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is a communications strategist with two decades of experience growing brands that stand out in competitive industries. Jennifer delivers outstanding results to brands, startups, and nonprofits who often have limited budgets, time, and resources. For more articles by Jennifer, visit: https://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog.html