10 Tips on How to Be a Great
Spokesperson on TV
By Marsha Friedman
With the increasingly rapid pace of our
business world, the importance of getting the name of your book,
product or service regularly in front of your target market is a
very real situation that all professionals face. Even more
difficult: actually being remembered by consumers.
Every month hundreds of thousands of
new books, products and services flood media channels – so it’s
imperative to find new ways to be noticed and stand out in such a
Besides the obvious methods of
direct mail and display advertising, many choose to be featured as a
guest on talk radio shows around the country or distribute press
releases to national magazines and newspapers. These are, of
course, fabulous ways to gain exposure, but there is another
important vehicle to help you harness the power of publicity –
appearances on local and national television!
TV is one of the most tangible forms
of media for promoting your message to the masses. As it is a
visual medium, it enables your target market to actually
why your book, product or service is of value to them. Let’s face
it - the visual create by your appearance leaves the audience with a
lasting impression you just can’t make on radio or in print.
But just because you’ve been invited
on as a guest, and you’re an expert on your book, product or service
does not necessarily make for good TV. In addition to being
knowledgeable about your subject and being a really good looking man
or woman – there’s something called a “likeability factor” that
involves a variety of tools you need to have, for the masses to
really sit up, pay attention and buy into your message.
With this in mind, here are a few
tips that will help you become the kind of guest every host wants to
have on his or her show and will enable you to capitalize on this
very valuable air-time.
energetic. Hosts and
producers don’t want duds on their show! You need to create some
positive energy and show your enthusiasm – regardless of how you may
really feel that day!. The more engaging you appear the more
interested and involved the audience will feel.
2) Be mindful
of body language. When
on-the-air be aware if you are notorious for tapping your feet,
squirming in your chair and clenching your fists - these send the
wrong message. If you always ‘talk’ with your hands, that’s okay;
just don’t over-exaggerate your movements and make sure you don’t
make loud sounds that could interfere with your microphone as all of
these gestures will distract the audience from hearing your “real”
current news topics.
Become well-versed in
current affairs that relate to your topic. If the anchor asks you a
question about a timely news story and you don’t know what he’s
talking about it erodes your credibility, and “likeability factor”
to their audience. So it’s a good idea to do a quick online news
search for any stories related to your topic right before your
scheduled interview. On the off chance that you are asked a
question that you don’t know how to answer, be honest about it.
It’s better to admit you’re not sure about something than to give
out incorrect information.
4) Don’t sound
You don’t want to sound like
you’re reading from a telemarketing script. That’s a cue for viewers
to simply tune out – they want to be entertained and informed, not
sold to. Instead, jot down the key points you want to convey ahead
of time. It’s okay to think about what your answers will be, but
don’t feel as though you have to ‘learn your lines.’ Then when it’s
time for the interview, focus on those talking points and always
bring your answers back to your key message.
5) Don’t be
wordy. Don’t try to
look smarter by using words only a few will understand. No one likes
listening to a pompous lecturer. People respond better when you
talk like they do. So keep your message simple and easy to
understand so viewers can relate to you better. Also avoid insider
jargon or technical terms that the general public may not be
familiar with. Keep in mind, your goal is to achieve broad appeal to
a wide audience; you can’t do that if they can’t understand you.
that what you’re really doing is having a conversation. Talk at a
normal pace—many people talk too fast when they feel nervous and
this can be extremely distracting for viewers. Think about it, who
wants to sit down with their morning coffee and tuning into their
favorite morning show to watch (and listen to) an annoying
motor-mouth! The best way to combat this? Actually listen to the
interviewer’s questions. The host will appreciate your attentiveness
and your engagement in a lively dialogue.
your answers with descriptive words and concepts. Don’t forget that
a good portion of the TV audience may not be actually watching their
TV; they could be getting ready for work, watching their kids or
making dinner. So appeal to their senses and paint a picture they
can visualize with your words.
8) If you
stumble, stutter, or slip-up during an interview, forget about it
and move on. Don’t
dwell on your mistakes. Don’t get flustered. Even the most
experienced news anchors flub a line from time to time. It’s best to
just move on instead of drawing attention to it. However, if you’ve
said something that is factually incorrect, address it immediately
and say something such as, “what I meant to say was…” The bottom
line is stay on message and you’ll be fine – the audience
understands that everybody makes mistakes.
9) Get to
the point. Don’t
ramble endlessly. You’ll lose your audience with long-winded answers
that go on and on. We’ve all struggled to stay awake during speeches
or lectures that seemed to last forever. But, in this case, viewers
will simply change the channel – at which point you’ve lost a great
opportunity to promote your book, product or service!
Convey appropriate emotions.
If you’re talking about a serious topic such as cancer,
terrorism or mortgage foreclosures, you shouldn’t be grinning.
Likewise, if your topic is light-hearted, smile and don’t be afraid
to share a chuckle with the host. Haven’t we all seen someone on TV
whose facial expressions don’t match the nature of the subject?
It’s disconcerting for viewers and it makes you look insincere.
This is key for the “likeability factor”!
The list goes on, but this is
a great start! Always remember that your intention for every
interview is to enlighten the listening audience about your book,
product or service and interest them in purchasing it. And, what
happens if you’re successful? Well you may not only be invited back
as an “expert” guest, but you could also drive demand into the
stores where, let’s be honest, you would rather your customers be
parked instead of in front of the tube!
Read other articles and learn more
about Marsha Friedman.
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