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Tips for Virtual Press Interviews and Going Live Social Media

With everyone working from home, including journalists, an increasing number of online interviews are taking place. Surprisingly, national media outlets are interviewing people for their segments with very little direction for those being interviewed. We have compiled some tips for virtual press interviews.

If you have ever worked with a PR firm it is likely that you have received some media training for on camera and off camera interviews. However, none of us were prepared for the current state of our nation media and the overnight shift to almost exclusively skype and zoom oriented “on camera” interviews.

I think we have all seen them, the not-so-flattering virtual interview leaving a not-so-impactful or positive impression on those who tuned in. There are lots of ways to make sure you have a great virtual press or social media live interview. Making a few tweaks to your home recording setup and following these seven tips will improve your virtual interview tenfold.

Here are seven important tips to help make your interview more visually successful.

Find a quiet place – This seems straightforward but is often overlooked. Make sure the place you are setting up for the interview is quiet 99.9% of the time!

Quiet place for virtual press interview

Avoid interruptions – You may be thinking, “How do I do that? Interruptions are unpredictable.” Well, start off by letting everyone know when you are doing an interview and to NOT interrupt you. For extra precautions put a “Do Not Disturb – Live Recording” sign on the door to the room you are in and lock it. This is a great trick to keep kids and spouses out!

Mute all technology – One thing lots of people forget about is to mute or turn off all technology not needed for the interview. If you are using your computer and have your text or email notifications on, make sure to mute them. Also mute all other cell phone, computer, TV and any other device that makes noise or produces any kind of light. Make a mental note to ignore all “popup” notifications so you don’t get distracted during the interview.

Tips for Virtual Press Interviews - mute phone

Make sure you have consistent lighting – This is important if you are in a room with windows. Take note of the time of day you are interviewing and ask yourself if the light change during the interview. If you can set up artificial light and block out natural light, you will get the most consistent lighting, even if natural light is more flattering. Try setting up a consistent light source for your interview. Pay attention to the lighting source color and make sure you do not look too yellow or blue. Different artificial light sources give off varying tones.

Extra pro tip: Some computers or phones will auto adjust but others won’t, so do a trial run at the same time of day with the same lighting to see what it looks like.

Angle is Everything– This is one of the biggest virtual/online interview offenses I see these days. Angle is everything, and making sure your camera or recording device is level or higher than you is very important. We have all seen it—the unflattering up the nose or under the chin lighting. Just like your selfie game, having a higher angle is more flattering, slimming and does not show off your nostrils to the public. Just saying.

Extra Pro Tip: If you are shooting on a desk or flat surface, use a book or something stable to prop up your phone, computer monitor, or laptop. There are lots of phone tripods available. If you have time make sure to get one before your interview.

Dress for success – Being home we are all a little more relaxed these days, but when you are going live or interviewing on local or national media making sure all wrinkles are ironed out, your patterns are limited, and your color choices not distraction is very important. Other things like doing your hair and makeup also are essential, even for men. Don’t be afraid to ask someone in your house for help!

Test your video and audio beforehand – Something helpful for making sure you are looking your best and ready to go is a “dry run.” Test the technology you plan on using and see what you look like on camera. Adjust accordingly, making sure you look your best!

Extra pro tip: Have a glass (not bottle) of water nearby in case you need it! Nothing worse than getting a frog in your throat or a tickle that only a swig of water will help go away and not having it nearby.

These tips can be used for any kind of online interview press or social media live session. They are all best practices and quick, easy tweaks that will ensure the most successful and impactful interview possible.

If you are itching to test out these new skills, you can schedule your own live session on social media to get comfortable with the process. If you are seeking some ways to gain more exposure, reach out to local media outlets, companies, or agencies you think you could provide value to in a live social media session. You never know who will say yes and your personal and brand management is all about being seen and heard online these days.

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