Sunday, January 22, 2006

Tips for successful TV interviews

How to improve your nonverbal skills

If you grant television interviews, you're automatically going to think about what you plan to say. But what you don't say can be equally as important. Make sure your nonverbal performance is as good as your verbal skills. Generally speaking, nonverbal performance can be described as all the gestures, expressions and postures that are used in the process of communication. So what does this mean? Here are some do's and don'ts:


- Sit up straight
- Make good eye contact with the reporter
- Keep your eyebrows up and smile when appropriate
- Lean forward
- Keep your hands folded on your lap or on the arm of your chair when not talking
- Pay attention to the person who is talking (mentally and visually).


- Fold your arms
- Make fists
- Dig your fingers into arms of chair
- Pick your cuticles
- Tap your fingers
- Fiddle nervously with pencils or other objects
- Slouch
- Swivel back and forth in a swivel chair
- Touch or play with the microphone

According to psychologist Marco Pacori, "gestures and speech are inseparable." This is true with TV interviews, as well as with other forms of public speaking. Remember these tips, and you'll look confident in front of the camera.

© 2006 D. C. Sistrunk – All rights reserved

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Alina said...

Very interesting post, DCS, especially since the majority of our everyday "speech" is non-verbal. I think this can also apply to interviews, presetations and other meetings where we tend to overlook this non-verbal details.

Deb S. said...

Kayla: You're absolutely right. Everyone from PR practitioners to psychologists have conducted reams of research on nonverbal communication.

Alina said...

Yes, I can still remeber how much they nagged us with this subject in my first year's class, Introduction to Communication Theory...I thought that it will do for the next three years, but it did not :). Enough to give us all a taste of how important it is...

AsianSmiles said...

Good info Sis. Very helpful. I specially dislike someone who slouches on the chair during the interview. It appears (and feels) like he is inattentive and/or too confident and/or uninterested.

Shirazi said...

Useful indeed.

Nth Dimension said...

Good tips, thanks.

Coincidentally, I was watching the classic BBC comedy "Yes, Prime Minister" yesterday, and one episode involved prepping the protagonist (the PM in the series) for a TV interview...and it was hilarious to see the staff prepping the PM with do's and don'ts...


Deb S. said...

Kayla, AsianSmiles and Shirazi: With all the experience you have under your belt, I feel that I have a team of resident experts at my disposal. :-)

Deb S. said...

Ramesh: I'll add you to the team, too. :-) Boy, I wish I had seen that episode of "Yes, Prime Minister." It HAD to be hilarious!

defiant goddess said...

I'm glad you posted this. In a few months, I'm going to be doing interviews - perhaps not TV interviews, but interviews nonetheless - and I've been thinking about techniques. Independent artists tend not to be interested in persona and image but the reality is we still have to be mindful of what we project. PR is an art I will definitely need to learn more about. Guess I'll be adding that to my list of things to study. :) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

doesn't a successful television interview have more to do with the quality of the questions asked, and the quality of the answers given, in terms of an interview that provides the viewer and listener with vital information that can be efficiently utilised by the listener and viewer..?

listening to a george bush junior speech, or a george bush junior press conference on television seems to represent a violation of mere aesthetics in terms 'truthful information' that inspires progress and challenging of the parameters of a status system that seeks 'style over substance'.....

view the speeches given by martin luther king junior: view the speeches given by john f. kennedy: view films from the golden era of hollywood: study and read literature and art that was part of the first seventy years of the twentieth century -

'style over substance' keeps the minds of the masses dulled, bored, and bland while increasing the capital revenues gained by those involved in the act of keeping minds dulled, bored, and bland. creating an artificial setting that stresses 'style over substance' inspires a dangerous tendency to create the necessary lies and slight of hand deceptions currrently in vogue by politics and a powerful and hidden agenda to create a numb detached cultural petri dish to manipulate the masses......

'style over substance' indeed.

Deb S. said...

Goddess: You are so right when it comes to projecting the proper image. As an artist, you're way ahead of many of your peers in that respect. I'm glad you found the tips helpful. I still say your career is about to take off big time!

Anonymous: I appreciate your comments. The tips for successful TV interviews are meant to help people come across as credible on camera. It's not meant to substitute style for substance. In fact, it's meant to do the exact opposite.

If your nonverbal skills are good, people will concentrate on what you are saying. If your nonverbal skills are poor, people will miss or ignore what you're saying. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in on this topic.