This Tuesday, after delivering a free preview training of my Get Your Writing Done Program, I was interviewed on PIX 11 by Anchors Tamsen Fadal and Arrianne LeBeau about the research on journaling for mental health and how to get started. You can watch it here.
I’ve learned over the years how important it is to practice many times before the TV segment. While I’ve interviewed about journaling before, I’d added some new material and had quite a bit of new information (research studies, in particular) to absorb. I was very lucky to have three wonderful people practice with me–two pros, on air coach and mentor Debra Alfarone and my long-time friend Portland Helmich (who is also a media coach) and my dear friend Paula whose perceptiveness and intuition often captured similar feedback to the professionals!
But, oh-those-pros! They really know how to light up a zoom room!
I learn some new tips every time I practice and interview, so here are my latest TV interview tips for authors.
TV Interview Tips for Authors
Fine Tune Your Talking Points Before Sending! Fine tune your talking points before sending to the producer and practice them before finalizing; you may find you add a new point or refine the ideas.
Practice. Practice. Practice: The more you practice, the more your response becomes second nature. In the beginning, it may feel like it’s about memorizing the studies (Boston University researchers studied the mental health of college students for eight years and found that depression jumped 135%, anxiety 110% in those eight years). For me, at least at my ripe age, it takes time for statistics to become second nature. Once they’re second nature, I can relax and show up more fully. And that’s when we shine.
Allow Ample Set Up Time: I gave myself more than a half hour to set up for the call. While that seemed like enough, I ran into a last minute problem: my sound had worked great on my training call earlier that day and when practicing with my coach, but when I tried playing a YouTube video 1/2 hour before the call, my external speaker suddenly wouldn’t work.
Of course, when we feel a bit panicked, everything takes ten times as long, and that was true for me! It turns out my zoom sound worked fine, but I didn’t realize that. Instead I restarted my computer, ran into a windows update and was time crunched to fix my lighting, which turned out okay but not optimal.
Quotable TV Tips from My Media Coach
It’s all about service: As my media coach, Debra Alfarone, said to me, “Journaling saved your life by recovering your health. How might it save the life of someone listening to the call? Remember that; you could save someone’s life with this information!” Wow. That puts a TV interview in a whole new light and really reminds us of our big “WHY”; doesn’t it?
I think I’ve said this before but when we’re trying to not bomb, or even trying to get things perfectly, we’re not our best, most authentic self. We’re our performing self. When we practice so much that we know our spiel backwards and forwards, we have room to just show up and be ourselves in the spirit of service.
Bring it Back to Anchors’ and Viewers’ Lives: During our rehearsal, Debra came up with a great line about, “You have all that time to scroll Instagram. You can find 8 minutes a day to journal.” I incorporated it in the interview and the anchors loved that because they do spend a lot of time on Instagram and so do many of their viewers. I think they could see that just a little of that time applied to journaling could really benefit them. Tamsen and Arrianne both connected and responded to the Instagram comparison and we all laughed. Consider how your listeners spend their time, what’s important to them, bring it back to them and you’ll make an impact for them; you’ll make a difference.
“Be the Gayle“: That’s the mantra Debra uses when she anchors. Another quote she shared with me when we practiced the morning before my interview: “Fill the room. Show up fully and passionately. Be as energetic as you can be.” Again, practice helps so that we’re not just trying to remember our lines. When you watch the interview, you’ll see where I lit up and where I focused a bit much on my lines. For many of us, our media presence is a work in progress. Keep reminding yourself to be enthusiastic. It’s easy to forget if you’re focusing on your lines!
More Advice to Nail Your TV Interview
This isn’t my first post on interviewing on TV. A few weeks ago I shared my lessons learned on How to Nail Your TV News Interview. In that post, I shared in more detail about the things to think about:
- your “B-Roll”
- understanding viewers
- gathering stories that engage hosts and viewers
- how to share your book on TV without being pushy (you can let me know if I succeeded in that )
- and more
If you want the full experience of preparing, from start to finish, check out that post here.
I also have a great guide from my friend and colleague, Portland Helmich, for preparing for TV interviews. If you are looking for lots of details on how to prepare, this post will give you a ton of information — from what to wear to video background tips, jewelry do’s and don’ts, hair, make-up, camera tips, practicing, props and more.
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