In the “before times,” media interviews were often done in person or by phone. But now, many are being conducted on Zoom, which can be a little intimidating. Some take place via live broadcasts like this one of our client Barbara Biddle on Cheddar, while others will be pre-recorded. No matter the format, you’ll want to prepare so that you can put your best face forward and connect with the audience.
While we can’t always anticipate surprise cat appearances and internet outages, there are things you can control so that you look professional and put together on camera. Below, you’ll find 6 essential tips for making sure that your next Zoom media interview goes smoothly.
In part two of this series, we’ll go over some important media interview tips and tricks that will amp up your confidence and ensure that your messages and key talking points come across across clearly and concisely.
1. Dress to Impress on Your Zoom Media Interview
A crucial first step to any media interview is to dress the part. Start with a clean, professional look that reflects your personality and brand.. Take the time to brush and style your hair, apply make-up (add a little more blush, concealer, mascara and even a little more lipstick than you would normally so that it shows up on camera), and select accessories that add flair but that don’t overwhelm your face. Also, watch out for jangly jewelry that might interfere with the sound.
Solid colors tend to also look better on camera; avoid busy patterns or washed-out colors. If you wear glasses, see if the lighting will cause a glare or reflect on the computer screen. You may need to adjust your computer or phone screen or move your lights so they don’t bounce off your glasses.
2. Perfect Your Posture
For the most flattering position, be sure that your computer or phone is adjusted so that your head is positioned in the middle of the screen and that you’re not too far or too close to the computer. You also don’t want to be looking down at the screen, which is a notoriously unflattering position.
Pick a stable chair instead of something that moves or swivels so that you stay steady and keep your shoulders and back straight but slightly relaxed. Avoid tilting your head or leaning, which can be perceived as lacking in confidence or credibility.
If you have notes or another screen open, make sure you are keeping your gaze at the camera since it’s much more obvious virtually when someone isn’t maintaining eye contact.
3. Find a Good Location for Your Zoom Media Interview
Yes, we’re all stuck at home and everyone is getting a peek into each other’s personal lives like never before. However, for your media interview, you’ll want to minimize distractions and find a good location that doesn’t reveal your figurative (or literal!) dirty laundry.
If possible, find a quiet location with a solid color wall (not one that is blank white!) or shelves behind you. Simple, tasteful decor is fine as well. Too much busyness in the background can be distracting–even something as simple as an open door or visible hallway. You want the interviewer to focus on you, not your family photos. While virtual backgrounds were popular when everyone first hopped on Zoom last year, we don’t recommend them for a media interview.
4. Get the Lighting Right
As any photographer will tell you, lighting can make or break how you look. The same is true when it comes to being on video. The best set up is to have natural light in front of you, but not too close, so that it highlights your face and avoid harsh overhead lighting, which can be very unflattering.
If that’s not possible, we recommend investing in a ring light that will put you in the best possible light. These ring lights come in a wide range of prices and with different features so you’ll want to consider how much you’ll be using the light before you drop big bucks on an expensive set up. Check out this detailed YouTube tutorial for more tips on your lighting and setup.
5. Test Your Video Interview Tech
Whether you’re using Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or some other video conferencing technology, it’s important to be comfortable with the technology before your interview. Make sure you know
- how to join the call.
- how to adjust the volume and where the mute button is.
- that your display name is correct including first and last name.
And don’t forget to charge your computer or phone, update the video software, and allow for video and microphone access.
It’s also important to double check that your WiFi is running smoothly, and that you have a backup plan or hotspot in case it’s not. If you plan to use an external microphone to ensure clear, crisp audio, here is a list of high quality microphones for a range of budgets.
6. Prevent Distractions During Your Zoom Media Interview
A good interviewee plans ahead for potential distractions instead of frantically trying to handle them while on camera. Make sure your ringer and notifications are turned off or set your phone to “Do Not Disturb.”
If you live with others, let them know you’re doing a media interview so they don’t pop in unexpectedly. There’s not much you can do about a barking dog or crying baby and if that happens, well, that’s life. We’re all trying to get through and do our best under extraordinary circumstances so don’t sweat it too much.
Planning ahead is the key to ensuring a smooth Zoom media interview with as few hiccups as possible. Once you have the presentation and tech part nailed down, you can relax and focus on the all-important content for your interview. In part two of our series, we’ll go over some important media interview tips and tricks that will amp up your confidence and ensure that you get your message across clearly and concisely.
Want to take your media interview skills to the next level? Click here to book your introductory Zoom media training session with Sacha Cohen, the founder of Grassfed Media.