Nearly all reporters who call UCI are from the print media, yet the campus aggressively pursues television and radio coverage because of its broad exposure. The following guidelines apply primarily to those television interviews, but they will help you make the right impression for all media. The intent of these guidelines is to minimize distractions, allowing the reporter and the viewers to concentrate on what you're saying.
You would be surprised how much of your voice gets lost when you start talking into a microphone. Speak up. Smile when it's appropriate. Long after you have appeared on a television or radio show, people will remember you and the impression you made. That impression should be of a confident, thoughtful, caring individual.
Be prepared for a necessary closeness with a television interviewer, for the camera's sake. You may be rubbing shoulders or bumping knees with the interviewer, or talking with a microphone in your face. Don't back away.
Gestures are a means of using stress energy effectively. Don't be afraid to use them; though don't point at the reporter or camera.
Sit up straight. Don't swivel or rock.
Cross your legs at the knees or sit with your legs at a 45 degree angle in the chair, legs crossed at ankles or feet together, one in front of the other.
In the television studio, don't jump out of your seat too quickly. The show's credits may be rolling over the scene of you sitting on the set. Consider yourself on camera until the show's director says you are finished.
Do not lean on the arm rest of the chair, you look too casual. Lean forward a little, showing interest, not back, showing fear or indifference.
Stand up straight. Beware of slouching and tilted shoulders. Don't rock forward and back or sway side to side.
Keep your hands at your sides or bend your elbows slightly at your waist. Don't put your hands in your pockets, don't hold them in front of you and don't cross your arms over your chest. If you are uncomfortable with your hands at your sides, try holding a notebook or other "prop."
Hold your head high. Don't tilt it to one side.
Beware of being an "active listener" and nodding in apparent agreement to comments with which you may not agree.
TV cameras get much closer to your face than most people, so your eye movement is critical.
Don't look at the camera. Look at the reporter 100 percent of the time. Focus on the bridge of their nose if you're uncomfortable looking into their eyes continuously. Pay attention to what's happening or you may be embarrassed when the camera catches your eyes wandering.
Don't look up at the ceiling ("God help me!") or down at the floor ("Let us pray").
Don't shift your eyes from side to side.
Wear glasses if you need to. But don't wear photo greys, which turn dark when the lights hit them.
When asked by a sound engineer to give a voice level, use this opportunity to "set the stage" for the interview. The engineer wants to know your voice's normal speaking level so say your name, title and what you'd like to talk about.
Beware of leaning toward and away from a stationary microphone while you're talking, as this causes your voice to become louder and softer.
In a radio interview, your voice is all you have, so beware of speaking in a dull monotone. Project, be expressive, and you'll come across better.
Voices sound best if they're from the lower register, yet they often get higher when people are nervous. You can lower your voice through awareness and controlled, deep breathing. Smiling helps animate the voice.
Wear clothes that are comfortable.
Solid colors or soft shades are best. A burgundy tie or scarf will reflect color onto the face. A light blue shirt or blouse, burgundy tie or scarf and navy jacket is ideal for television.
Lightweight suits are less likely to cause perspiration if you will be in the hot lights of a studio.
Make sure socks that are long enough to avoid a gap between your pant leg and the top of your sock.
Of course, your tie is straightened, your shirttail tucked in.
Button a jacket when standing; unbutton when seated.
Don't wear high contrasts like black and white. Avoid horizontal stripes, hounds-tooth and other distracting patterns.
Don't wear a pager or phone during an interview unless you can control the sound.
Makeup and hair
Makeup is appropriate on television for men and women. It helps control shine especially on foreheads.
Before a television interview or photography session, get a haircut if you need one. Keep your hair out of your face.
Most people get butterflies in their stomachs at the idea of an interview, especially one before the camera. Be aware of how you show stress and control it. Don't allow nervous gestures, such as pulling at your hair, swinging your foot or smiling too broadly, spoil an otherwise successful interview. Nervousness vanishes with frequency. The more interviews you give, the easier they will be.