PR Tips: Media Relations (Part 3)


Your TV interview is booked — congrats! Today, we’re going to examine some tips and what you can expect for your on-camera appearance.

Remember that you are the authority; you are the expert. The talk show invited you to talk about your involvement with your organization because you know more about it than they do. You’re going to be great!


  • Keep wardrobe simple, uncomplicated, professional looking. Don’t wear white or black, more than one pattern, small checks, large print, herringbone, stripes, polka dots or loud colors. Instead, wear safe colors dark blues, grays, earth tones, pastels or wear colors that look good on you and blend well with the set.
  • Wear under-arm shields when there’s a perspiration problem; don’t wear wool or certain synthetics if they make you itch.
  • Don’t wear low cut dresses or shirts.
  • Don’t wear seasonal clothes.
  • Don’t wear too much jewelry stay away from gold and sparkly items.
  • Women should bring several outfits to the set.

Camera and Eye Contact

  • Always conduct yourself as if you are on camera.
  • In an interview, look at the interviewer not the camera. The camera with the red light is on. But the director could switch cameras just as you are about to look at it.
  • There will usually be three cameras one on the host, one the guest or panel and one cover shot.
  • You won’t know when there’s a close up. The lens does the zooming.
  • Let the cameramen worry about profiles. You concentrate on answering the questions. Don’t try to second-guess the camera.
  • Don’t concern yourself with technical aspects around you lights, cameramen, monitors, etc.
  • Do look at the camera during a call in show. This gives you contact with the caller.
  • Use the studio audience as a barometer. Zoom in on specific faces. If there’s a smile smile back. A grimace could mean you’re not getting through. Pick out individuals; it thwarts anxiety of being in front of so many people.
  • Watch talk shows and study eye direction before your interview.


Avoid looking at monitors – it gets confusing. Do glance at monitors when doing a demonstration or displaying an object to see if

  • you need another angle to avoid light glare
  • your hand is covering title

There are 4 basic types of monitors:

  • hand held cue/”idiot” card
  • flip cards that hang on clips under camera lens
  • roller sheet located near camera
  • video prompter


There are 3 basic types for TV:

  • Lavaliere attached to shirt or blouse or lapel
  • Boom overhead
  • Hand held hold just above chin, not covering mouth


  • On television, style is as important as substance; the way you sell yourself is just as important as the issue that you area there to discuss.
  • Unlike radio and newspapers, television has a visual impact that gives way to an emotional impact. The emotional impact is what your viewers are left with after the show is switched off.
  • It’s extremely important that you appeal to the viewer’s emotions. Get them to like, trust and believe in you.
  • Laughter: No guffaws, knee slapping, hysterics polite, reserved laughter.
  • No nervous chatter upon entering the studio: don’t talk about anything you don’t want the host to know about. Remember, you and your company are judged from the moment you step into the television studio. Present yourself as you want the host, studio audience and viewers to see you: with class, credibility, respectability, responsibility.
  • Feel free to interrupt if you wish to clarify a point made previously. Use your social graces and common sense; act as if you were talking to someone about your organization over dinner.
  • If the host makes an error that is not critical to your statement, wait until a commercial break to correct him. To correct him in front of millions of viewers could embarrass him. If he makes an error that is fundamental to your point, correct him as gently as possible.

Body Language

  • Always look alert and interested. You never know for sure if the camera is on you; don’t be looking down or looking bored.
  • Leaning forward when making important points is effective, if it’s natural.
  • Keep hands away from face, hair and mouth always.
  • Don’t over gesture it’s distracting and ineffectual.
  • Don’t fidget everything is twice as noticeable on TV.
  • Shots of hands nervously tapping or intertwined fingers are visual garnish that seldom contribute to the presentation.
  • Don’t slouch or lean back luxuriously. Sit or stand straight.

Word Sensitivity

  • Be sensitive to your use of first responder terminology that may confuse viewers.
  • Don’t use jargon.
  • Be sure to use the name of your organization as often as possible without making it too commercial.

Relaxation Techniques

While a small amount of nervousness is good (keeps you on your toes), too much is dangerous. Try:

  • Exercise
  • Deep breathing breathe in four, hold four, breathe out eight.
  • Tension reliever tighten muscles, push out tension, head roll, shoulder lifts.
  • Use commercial breaks to relax: do breathing exercises, fix hair, get a glass of water, inform host of the points you want to bring out before the show ends.

(Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our media relations series.)

-Dan Grody, TGPR