When we place people on screen we need to know that they are prepared properly and on message, as well as making sure any footage we shoot ourselves needing to be of broadcast standard. We can do this through our media training and also making sure we secure the right opportunities for the right spokespeople. We offer courses in all these areas as well as video production too, but if you follow these 6 tips we believe that your spokesperson will be well placed to make sure they make the most of their moment on screen and look and sound the part in front of camera:
The old adage of fail to prepare, prepare to fail, applies very much to when appearing on screen. It is vital that a spokesperson knows exactly what the opportunity is. They need to know the feel of the show, so that they can judge their tone, dress, the key audience of that that slot so they can target their messaging appropriately. Timings are crucial too, and spokespeople should always arrive well in advance off their slot. Spokespeople will need to know who they are speaking to, this is important as they can be much more personable but also see historically how the interview may go and the types of questions they may be asked. Finally, they need to know how it will be conducted, if it is to be a face to face interview in studio or a down the line interview straight into camera without a presenter present. If they arrive and it is not what they are expecting, all can lead to a sense of confusion that can be visible and awkward on screen.
- How to look:
At Shout! as a rule of thumb, we always say that a spokesperson should mirror the presenter. This makes it very simple for the look of the spokesperson not to jar at all on screen. If it is a hardcore business interview with a CEO you would always expect them to be appearing in a suit, but if they are appearing on something slightly lighter, you could expect them to lose the tie. Where this rule slightly goes out the window, is when you have a spokesperson who say is from a charity or another organisation where it just wouldn’t be appropriate for them to turn up wearing a suit. It is crucial that the spokesperson looks the part but also that they feel comfortable in what they are wearing and how they look.
- How to sound:
Spokespeople need to engage the audience. Visually is one thing, another is how they sound. If someone sounds dull people will think their content is dull. Spokespeople need to have high energy and enthusiasm in their voice and maintain this throughout the interview. Monotonous monosyllabic answers are a sure-fire way of making sure audiences are turned off and tune out. A bad interview is always much more memorable than a good one, so make sure your spokespeople are energetic and enthusiastic and capable of judging the tone of a show, it is important they sound authoritative but not patronising.
- Don’t over complicate:
The moment is short and it needs to be seized. Overcomplicating an interview will mean that the salient points and reason behind doing the interview get lost to the audience. Short, clear and concise messaging is vital to getting the points you want to make across in the short time frame that you have. At Shout! we always advise spokespeople to think of their 3 top points that they want to make. This is an easy way of prioritising what you want to say and ultimately helps you structure the interview. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of them in, in fact one key message perfectly executed is far better than just chucking a whole load of buzzwords out there. Which leads us nicely into…
Often we have seen spokespeople come in and want to just say the name of their company/product and think that this is success. PR is much more subtle than that, it is not advertising. Too much branding will jar will listeners far more than a well nailed interview, and ultimately have a negative impact. Too much branding can also lead to interviews being cut short or even spokespeople be pulled off air – believe us, we’ve seen it all! Visual branding is very important. Spokespeople will not get away with wearing a very visibly branded top or hat with a logo on, but small subtle logos can work. When used well branding can work, but our moto with branding is always; ‘less is more’!
- Enjoy it!
Lastly, but not least, you have to enjoy the experience. Broadcast is a fantastic area to promote your business, product or service, so embrace that and don’t get nervous. It is a fun experience that very few people get to do, so appreciate that and use your moment in the spotlight to clearly and confidently convey your key messages.
At Shout! we offer a range of courses and media training packages to suit your spokespeople and make sure they are screen ready, before we secure them the best possible opportunities on TV. Check out on our website at: www.shoutcommunications.co.uk or call us on 0207 240 9980.
By Arthur Perkins