Interview Tips for Executives
A great deal of content seen in corporate communications features on-camera interviews with executives and key personal. If your organization offers media training - it might be worth the time to check it out. You will learn how to present and focus your thoughts into easily digestible dispatches. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider before arriving “on set.”
We are here to make you look good.
Unless it’s a 60 Minutes crew in your lobby, the production team genuinely want you to look and sound your best. We’re here to make your experience as painless as possible. Try and relax and let us do what we do best - making YOU look good.
Have a conversation.
In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than a micromanaged checklist of questions followed by a micromanaged checklist of answers. Authenticity, which is the cornerstone of any good interview, reveals itself more in conversation than recitation. Try not to fixate too much on the questions. In fact, whenever possible, I prefer NOT to share them ahead of time. I’ve found that if the exact questions are known beforehand, the tendency is to over prepare. Have a general idea of what you want to say and then let the interviewer guide you. The answers will seem more spontaneous and perhaps reveal a little of your personality as well.
Speak in soundbite.
In the edit room, if it’s a choice between a long and involved answer or a short succinct one, the shorty wins every time. Try your best to consolidate your thoughts and present them as compactly as possible. Again, this is where the interviewer can help.
Like I was saying.
You may be asked the same question several times, or in different ways. It’s reflex to say:
“like I was saying” or “as I mentioned before.” Keep in mind those previous takes might not be used at all. Approach each question, even if redundant, as if it’s the first time you were asked.
Unless the production is to include the interviewer (and most don’t) the actual question will be edited out. Therefore, it’s important to speak in complete sentences. For example; if you were asked what you had for breakfast, the answer should NOT be simply “eggs and toast.” A complete response would include the question in your answer. “For breakfast this morning I had eggs and toast.” This way you don’t need the question to have your answer make sense.
Dress for success.
Most likely you will be sent a clothing recommendation from the production crew. A lot depends on what and where you are shooting. Generally speaking, you should wear neutral colors without logos. If another company’s logo is seen that means we would have to deal with their legal department. Nobody wants to talk to those guys. And don’t forget to press. There is usually a steamer on set or access to an iron for those last minute wrinkles.
Have fun. Many liken an on camera interview to root canal surgery. It need not be that. Just relax and have an engaging conversation about what you know best. YOUR business.