STV Suzanne Doyle Morris

Top 5 things to remember in the 3 minutes before you go live on your 1st TV Interview

As someone who routinely gives keynote presentations to large audiences, I truly did not expect to feel so nervous when giving my first television interview to STV on the latest research from the EHRC on employers attitudes towards hiring women on reproductive age. Truly dismal stuff, and a topic on which I felt strongly. However, the pressure is different as in a speech, I may have 45 minutes to make my points, whereas a television or radio interview is a different kettle of fish – you only have moments to make a strong impression. Preparation is vital so check out these 5 key tips. But there is still more to learn, particularly in the 3 minutes before we went live on air.

1. Breathe and speak slowly:

It is unlikely that the audience can actually see your heart pounding out of your chest, so take a breathe and speak slowly.

2. Ask what the very first question to you will be:

This may sound obvious, but I’d prepared different points based on the themes the producer told me on the phone. In the 2 minutes before we went to camera, he told me my first question – and it wasn’t the one I’d prepared. Use this as an opportunity to think how to shoehorn the answers you were ready with into their first question.

3. Check the screen details:

Have they spelled your name, qualifications and your company name on the text below your name  – and that they know how to pronounce it all.

4. Be you, nobody does you better:

Use your hands as you need them. This is a personal foible of mine. I know I should probably sit on them when speaking, but do what makes you feel more like you – and if using your hands makes you feel most authentic, go on and gesture away!

5.  Stay hydrated:

Lastly, have a glass of water near you to sip whilst the other panellists are getting questions. Unless you are a Sahara desert runner, your mouth will never get as dry as when you are waiting for that next question…
All in all, I did decently – plenty I wished I’d said and things I didn’t have time to mention. But the upside is that it’s your first media interview and you can always show it to a loving parent or someone else who wonders how you can possibly be ‘working’ all day from the desk in your home with time to do laundry in between calls…. 🙂

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