Presenting is a hard skill to master. Most people find it daunting to stand in front of a crowd or interviewer to deliver a statement or speech, or answer questions. Add to that television cameras and smartphones capturing your every move and the pressure can seem too much.
At Adoni Media, we help prepare CEOs, executives, athletes, academics, not-for-profits and community and business leaders to front the media. Leisa Goddard’s 25-plus years of journalism experience means she knows how to train you so that you can effectively tell your story.
Each of Leisa’s training sessions is personally tailored to suit individuals and their businesses. They include real-life scenarios, with a journalist and cameraman asking you the tough questions, so that you can practise the techniques you need to succeed when the media comes knocking.
Familiarise yourself with the information you want to say during an interview or press conference and practise the delivery. Get your key messaging and remember to speak in a succinct way. A television journalist will only use one or two “grabs” of your interview in their story. These only last about 10 or 15 seconds, so know your message and say it well.
Arrive early for your interview and get to know your surroundings and what type of space you’re going to be speaking in. Also, familiarise yourself with any other relevant information, so you’re prepared for any question that’s thrown at you during the interview.
Claim your space. If you’re standing, put your shoulders back and hold your head high. Your toes should be pointed towards the camera or the journalist – the cameraman or reporter will give you guidance as to where to look depending on the type of shot they want.
If the interview is seated, sit tall but make sure you’re comfortable – the last thing you want is to look uncomfortable on screen. Avoid chairs that swivel if you can – moving side to side is a nervous habit you won’t even realising you’re doing but it can make you look unreliable and shifty on camera.
Men should undo the bottom button of their jackets and sit on the back of their jacket – this helps to create clean lines. On clothing, avoid busy patterns as they can distort on camera.
Practise in front of a mirror and watch how your body moves when you talk. Look out for quirky hand gestures and facial expressions, as these can alter the image you want to project to the public. Try to be natural and relaxed – you will appear more calm and confident throughout the interview.
Gesture as you would normally but be wary of the microphone and your surroundings. The last thing you want is to bump into or knock over a microphone mid-interview. Don’t touch your face or fidget with your hands – this can distract people from what you’re saying and make it look like you’re unsure. Similarly, roaming eyes can make you look untrustworthy so ensure you maintain eye contact.
It’s normal to have nerves before and during an interview but your voice must remain strong and confident.
The best way to prepare your voice is to find a quiet space and hum so that your pursed lips are vibrating. This will help warm up your vocal cords and level out the sound of your tone. Also count to 10 in varying pitches to loosen your vocal cords.
Running or actively trying to avoid a television camera it just about the worst thing you can do from a media perspective. It’s best just to stop and stand your ground – let the media gather around you so you take control of the situation and impending interview.
A sure-fire way to calm nerves during an interview is to breathe.
Taking a breath can help slow you down if you find you’re talking too quickly. It can also give you a moment to gather your thoughts before answering a question.
If you stumble on a word or make a mistake, stay calm, take a breath and simply start the sentence again.
ABC’s how to do an interview give you a good understanding of how a journalist will run the interview.
Presenting is intimidating, but with proper preparation and training, you will feel calm, confident and collected when a journalist approaches you for an interview.