Preparing for a Live TV Interview

If you were watching Good Morning America this morning, you might have seen the inspirational meeting between a bone marrow transplant recipient and his life-saving donor.

PadillaCRT client Be The Match®, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on saving lives through bone marrow and cord blood transplantation, brought Dallas resident Justin and New York resident Joe together for the very first time.

In 2012, Justin donated bone marrow to Joe, who was fighting for his life after being diagnosed with lymphoma. After a year of anonymity, and then months of emailing back and forth, they finally met in-person – almost two years after Joe received his transplant.

As if the anticipation of meeting for the first time wasn’t great enough, Justin and Joe were now going to meet on live, national television – how’s that for nerve-wracking?!

But live television interviews don’t have to be panic-inducing. Below are a few tips to help you prepare so you can feel more comfortable and confident in front of the cameras.

Practice what you’re going to say. Although you can’t predict exactly what the reporter will ask, it helps to review your key messages beforehand. There’s no need to memorize anything (it will seem too rehearsed), but ask a coworker, family member or friend to review questions with you. You’ll feel much more comfortable by the time the camera’s rolling.

Prioritize. Live TV interviews are short – no more than a couple of minutes, and usually less than that. It’s important to get to the point quickly. You can always go back and elaborate if you have more time.

Ignore the cameras. This is always easier said than done, but you’ll look much more relaxed if you speak directly to the interviewer and ignore the surrounding cameras.

Most importantly – plan as much as you can, but be flexible! Don’t be surprised to hear that the logistics of an interview are changing at the last minute. Before you panic, take a step back and look at the big picture. You’ll likely see that the changes won’t affect the outcome, and that it’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure you have and are clear on all of the new details, and communicate the changes to anyone else you are coordinating with, too.

And a final tip: as you are planning for a story, think about how you might be able to share the segment after it airs. Maybe it will be short and sweet – a perfect fit for a link on social media. Maybe it’s a longer piece that you can share at your next team meeting to keep employees informed and excited. However you use it, sharing media coverage is a fun and simple way to educate people about the work your organization is doing.


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