Let’s (Video) Chat: 8 Tips for Media Interviews

At one time, a news organization would have to “go to the source” to get an interview.  Not so anymore.  With the reliability of video conferencing, an interview can take place just about anywhere – from a war zone to a construction zone.  News organizations are now using video conferencing as an avenue to conduct live or taped interviews.  From TV stations to online media outlets, video chat services like Skype and FaceTime have become a part of news gathering.  What does this mean for you if you’ve been asked to log on and take part in an interview?  There are eight tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be sure your internet connection is strong and secure. Whether you’re using a hardline connection (preferred) or a wireless connection, you don’t want your internet dropping off mid-interview.
  2. Dress like you’re going to be on TV. You may be working from home, but you don’t want to look like it. Dress professionally, in solid bright colors. They always translate best on screen. Slippers are allowed, unless you’re doing a footwear interview!
  3. Log on in advance and make sure your audio and video are working.
  4. Check your background. Make sure there is not a window behind you. The lighting will be bad: the background will be bright and your face will be dark. A solid colored wall with tasteful artwork behind you is best. If you are at home, be sure there is nothing in the background (like a family photo) that you might not want to share with the public.
  5. Make sure you look at the camera and not your computer screen. If you look at the screen, it may seem like you’re looking away and are not engaged.
  6. Close all other programs on your computer. You don’t want your “Lunch with Mom” meeting reminder popping up in the middle of the interview.
  7. Shut your office door to make sure no one interrupts your interview. Remember this guy?
  8. And, practice! Be sure you have your messaging down pat and know what you do and do not want to talk about.