You did it. You came up with a story idea, created a fabulous press release, pitched your local TV news, and now a news crew is headed to your office to get a sound bite. What the heck happens next?
First, you hear so many stories about what to wear. It’s very simple. Wear clothes that make you feel like a million bucks. Within that million dollar mindset, stay away from loud patterns. You don’t want your clothes to upstage your expertise. Trust your gut. You know what makes you feel good and what makes you feel confident. As a first interviewee, wearing that power suit helps make you feel more grounded. Stay away from dangling earrings and big jewelry, too. You don’t want the news program to focus on your orange and purple necklace.
Once the reporter and camera person arrive, they will immediately start looking for a place to do the interview. Have a few room options ready for them so they can choose which one has the best lighting, background, etc. The reporter’s time constraints will determine if you’ll be interviewed standing up or sitting down. Have two standard chairs, that don’t move back and forth, ready for quick access.
During a standing interview, the TV crew will guide you where to stand. Square your shoulders so you are facing the reporter. Same is true for sitting. Whether sitting or standing, always look at the reporter unless told otherwise.
The reporter will ask you your name and title. Say your first name, last name, and then spell it. Say your title and name of company, spelling those, too. It’ll go like this:
Reporter: “Give me your name and title and spell it.”
Shawne: “My name is Shawne Duperon, S-h-a-w-n-e D-u-p-e-r-o-n. I’m the CEO of ShawneTV. ShawneTV is S-h-a-w-n-e, capital T, capital V, all one word.”
This spelling isn’t necessarily for the reporter, but for the editors back at the newsroom. You want to help them get it right.
The reporter will start asking questions. Answer approximately three to four sentences at a time. Breathe. Slow down. Your game is to provide a 7-12 second sound bite. These short sound bites are what reporters need, and it’s your job to meet that need.
Let’s say the reporter has come to my office to do a story on networking.
Here’s how it’ll go:
Reporter: “What is the biggest mistake people make during networking?”
Shawne: “The biggest mistake people make during networking is they think networking is a one-time exchange with someone new. It’s not. Networking is a process, not an event. It’s about friendship and generating long-term relationships.”
Reporter: “Why do you have a seminar called, ‘Networking is for Neanderthals?’”
Shawne: “Networking for Neanderthals is all about shifting your context for networking. Most of us hate the pressure of having to network. If your context is focused on making friends and helping them, rather than desperately trying to find business, you will become super attractive. The pressure is gone and the business starts miraculously coming to you.”
Reporter: “So, what do you teach that’s different?”
Shawne: “My mantra is ‘It’s not about you.’ It never has been. It never will be. When you can attend a networking event and are fully engaged and interested in other people … not promoting YOUR business onto others … people will be naturally attracted to you. It’s magical how it happens.”
Notice my answers are short and sweet. I answer the question comfortably and confidently JUST LIKE I TALK! Talking normal is the pot of gold. Trying to “talk” for TV sounds like, well, trying to talk for TV.
Here’s your homework: Start watching TV news sound bites critically. How do sound bites from experts look and sound? Are they succinct? Credible? Authoritative? Sincere? Do you trust that person? That’s exactly what you want to create.
Shawne Duperon,CEO of ShawneTV, is an Emmy Award winning TV producer and gossip expert, who travels across the globe teaching companies how to get on TV.
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