If you or your PR agency secures a television or digital video news interview during the lockdown, do you know how to make your Zoom or Skype interview successful?

The pandemic lockdown changed every aspect of life – including how broadcast journalists interview expert sources. The positive side of Zoom or Skype interviews is that it lets you better control where the segment will take place, such as at your home office or place of business where the familiarity may make you feel more at ease than in a news studio.

When the lockdown ends, television crews will undoubtedly get back out into the world more often, but news producers tell us that Zoom interviews for some types of segments are here to stay (especially as newsroom staffing shrinks).

Here are the most necessary tips to prepare you for your TV interview, via your computer or mobile device.

  1. Choose exactly where the interview will take place ahead of time. Practice via Zoom or Skype with a trusted source to test your camera and mic in advance. If you’re near a window, make sure it’s in front of you or on the side, not behind you. Elevate the camera by placing your device to eye level.
  2. Make sure your device is charged, turn off notifications and silent your device. If at home, try to make sure family members aren’t also online during the interview – if possible to keep your internet connection at its strongest.
  3. Sit at the edge of your seat, up straight. Or stand.
  4. In the early days of the pandemic, newsroom producers nationwide quickly figured out through, trial and error, how to host the best tv segment. Today, they require the interviewee wear wireless headphones – meaning you must supply your own. The reason? Your camera will be several feet away from you which makes it difficult to hear the questions.
  5. Pay attention to your backdrop. Make sure the area seen on camera is spotless.
  6. If you are in a place of business or at home, make certain employees, customers, family members and pets do not get into the camera frame or making loud noises. Also, inform those around that an interview is occurring.
  7. Have good lighting. By now, every social media influencer knows to have a ring light – the strip of LEDs built into a circle that provides attractive light without shadows or harsh lines. Even if you don’t do television interviews, top execs today have them in their home office settings for other online meetings. Also, a tripod or elevated laptop stand will give you more options as to where to place the light.
  8. Look into the camera, not into the screen.
  9. Dress for the part. Avoid white, black and red – or patterns. Don’t let your clothing colors blend into the backdrop. Blues are best on camera.
  10. If using Skype or Zoom, make sure to change your username to something professional. Dora1988 doesn’t cut it.
  • It’s okay to have a few notes on index cards, written large.
  • As always, don’t stop with a yes or no answer. Keep it conversational.

If the interview is successful and a link becomes available, post it on your LinkedIn and tag and thank the news source for calling upon you for expert information.