Preparing to be interviewed on Camera – Part One of Three
With the ever-increasing importance and value of video in a company’s marketing mix, if it hasn’t happened already, you will almost certainly be asked to appear on camera at some point this year. Video is a really powerful way to promote your business because it allows your customers to have a virtual meeting with you, to get a feel for who you are and build rapport through shared knowledge. However, appearing on camera for most people isn’t the most natural thing to do, so we thought we’d share some of our top tips to help you prepare for your video interview. Once we started to write this blog we realised there’s quite a lot of knowledge to share so we’ve split the blog into three sections covering different styles of interviews and some of the questions we are frequently asked.
What type of interview is it?
The first thing to establish with the video producer is the style of interview. The most common style used for corporate video programmes is where the interviewer asks questions from off camera, i.e. you don’t see the interview on screen and your responses are cut together without the interviewer being heard. However, other styles include One Plus One, Down the Line and Panel Interviews.
This method is most often used so as to make the content sharper and shorter; it also gives viewers more of an opportunity to get to know you, in fact, you are the most important part of the interview because it’s your knowledge, your personality and importantly your passion for what you do that will encourage the viewer to consider buying your product or service. The interviewer really isn’t needed and would take away valuable air time from your message.
Key things to remember with this type of interview is:
Always answer the questions in a statement format that makes sense without the question having been asked. For instance, if the interviewer asks: “What difference did making a promotional video make to your business?” and you reply, “It made a big difference…..” the viewer isn’t going to know what ‘it’ is. A good reply would be something like: “The promotional video we made to promote our business really make a big difference to our conversion rate online.”
It sounds obvious, but don’t be surprised if despite best intentions you completely forget to create the statement format; in fact, to get your mind used to the concept it’s worth spending a bit of time with a colleague practising paraphrasing questions into your answer so that it becomes more natural for you.
The other thing that can seem very strange with statement style interviews is that once the interviewer has asked a question they can’t then speak to you again until you’ve finished responding. The reason for this is that as they are going to be left on the cutting room floor, they don’t exist in the mind of the audience; any normal verbal responses will therefore be distracting to the viewer.
It’s actually quite difficult to hold a conversation with someone when you don’t get any verbal acknowledgements; have a go with a friend and see how long it is before you are struggling to keep going without their verbal support. An experienced interview will be nodding at you, smiling and giving visual responses to help maintain eye contact and rapport, but it’s still a bit strange so do practice and get used to focusing on visual rather than auditory cues.
Eyeline is always important, for these interviews keep your eyeline to the interviewer – which is usually just off to the left or right of the camera itself. There is often a temptation to look at the camera or to be distracted by other people in the room, this can make you look shifty and uncomfortable to the audience, so ignore other people around you and focus on the interviewer.
The great thing about these interviews is that you are in control; there is absolutely no need to rush in with an answer so if you need time to think before replying, do so. There is often a tendency to want to fill any blank air straight away, however, it’s not necessary and the editor would much rather have a gap and a clear response than have to edit out some waffle that is tight on the end of the question. We usually advise people to count to three in the mind’s eye, take a good breath and make sure they are looking at the interviewer when they start to speak. Likewise, at the end of a response, keep looking at the interviewer until they start to speak again.
Most corporate interviews are done while seated, so make sure you are comfortable. Try not to have a seat that has wheels or rocks as you may be tempted to shift around and that will result in more retakes. Avoid speaking across a desk because this puts a barrier between you and the audience, as well as taking up valuable screen space. However, if you are at your desk, make sure you have cleared away dirty cups, sensitive information and anything that you would rather not be on show to the general public. Things like overflowing wastepaper baskets, tatty files or inappropriate pictures are a definite no-no.
Rest your hands, lightly closed, in your lap, on the chair arm or partly on the desk; it’s quite nice to have a bit of hand movement but do avoid becoming a bit of a demented windmill, and keep any movement fairly close to your body.
You will probably be asked to turn slightly to one side so as to avoid a square full-on body, which can be seen as confrontational.
We hope that you've enjoyed part one of our Preparing to be Interviewed blogs; part 2 will be uploaded next week. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch 01494 898 919.