This post was first published by Madge Miller on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
Executives going through media training is like saying the sun rises and sets. A senior PR person will show up, video camera in-hand, to capture every stutter and awkward tic as the trainee struggles with the presence of the camera and the existential dread caused by the word bridging. The next time someone shows up to media train you, give the video camera the hand and just say no.
In the modern media landscape, training in how to interview via webcam is much more useful. Why? More broadcast outlets, and executives, are turning to Skype interviews via laptop webcam to save time and money. Tricks used for Skype interviews also sharpen phone interview skills, for a double whammy of efficiency.
Here are a few helpful tips to guide you along with media training via webcam.
- Just like in middle school, headgear isn’t cool. Whenever possible try to wear just one earbud or, better yet, be in a quiet spot and use the laptop’s built in microphone. When working with TV broadcast, an earbud will be required as the producer needs to be connected to you via phone, in case there are logistical challenges, while the laptop microphone is connected to the broadcast. This is where long hair and/or an assistant who is good at tucking white earbud cords out of sight will come in handy.
- Wear a collared shirt
- Definitely have someone standing by to help hide as much of the earbud cord as possible
#2 Physical Presence
- The good news is that the average person is so comfortable in front of a laptop screen that it is much less likely there will be an attack of Shatner-itis. The bad news is that it is possible to be too comfortable.
- Post-it next to the webcam eye to focus your attention and avoid wandering eye syndrome.
- Use the post-it to leave yourself a reminder of your biggest webcam weakness. Do you slouch? Do you frown/stop smiling? Do you forget to gesture or gesture too much?
#3 The Environment
- Unlike a broadcast studio, your office, hotel and home weren’t set up with TV in mind. Just like you wouldn’t wear stripes on TV, make sure your environment is properly dressed.
- Don’t have a bright light directly behind you.
- Take down distracting pictures or logos.
- Make sure all alarms, phones or any type of noisemakers are turned off or put where they can’t be heard.
These are a few simple tips to get started on properly using the New Hotness in Media Training.
Madge Miller has conducted media training and messaging sessions with companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500, even putting her experience to personal use for an interview via Skype with NBC as a NASA tweet-up participant.