So you’re going to represent your small business on a TV or radio show. Good going! Here’s how to make sure you look and sound professional during your media appearance. Even first-timers can look like veterans by following these tips:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. Think about what questions the host may ask. If you’re smart, you already gave the show’s producer a one-page tip sheet about your topic, so you can probably work from that. If possible, have a friend or family member play “host” and practice answering questions in advance. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable and natural you’ll come across during your interview.
- Dress for success. If you’re appearing on TV, stay away from white shirts and garments with definite patterns (checks, stripes, bold floral prints). White shirts “glow” in the studio lights and will distract viewers from what you’re saying; opt for pastel colors instead. Patterns look funky on camera; stick with solids. Jackets and sweaters are helpful, because they give producers a place to fasten your microphone and hide the cord. Women: Avoid heavy, dangling necklaces that might interfere with the microphone’s sound. Men: Keep your jacket buttoned and wear knee-length socks to cover your legs when you’re sitting.
- Wear makeup, even if you usually don’t. Men and women both benefit from wearing makeup on TV. (Remember that most viewers will be watching you in high-definition!) Men: Apply foundation makeup that’s same shade as your skin to your face and neck to even out your complexion. A little powder can also be helpful on your nose and, if you’re bald or balding, on your head. Women: Full makeup is recommended. If you don’t normally wear much, a sales clerk at your local department store’s makeup counter may do your makeup for free if you buy one item and can show you how to do it yourself. Don’t sweat this too much: Most TV stations have a makeup person on staff who can powder you before your spot. Ask in advance.
- Be on time and expect to wait. For a TV segment or in-studio radio spot, you’ll probably need to be at the show a half hour or more before the show starts. If you’re on the radio, the producer will probably call and patch you into the show 15 minutes in advance.
- Speak slowly and keep it brief. You probably have only 5 or 6 minutes for your segment, but don’t rush. You’ll sound more confident and get your message across more clearly if you speak a bit more slowly than you naturally would. Also, answer questions succinctly, then pause. Let the host ask you for more details, if desired.
- Smile and have fun. Bring energy to what you’re doing — even if you have to fake it. If you’re appearing on TV, smile more than you think you should. Focus on the host (not the audience or the cameras). Aim to have a natural conversation with him or her, and you’ll sound and look great to viewers, too.