Lights, Camera, TV Presentation? 4 Tips For Speaking On Television

by drjim on November 17, 2008

Presenting On TV Requires 4 New Public Speaking Skills

Presenting On TV Requires 4 New Public Speaking Skills

Perhaps you have managed to overcome your fear of speaking to groups of people. Maybe you even have developed ways to deal with difficult questions and keep a presentation on track no matter what happens while you are speaking. However, are you ready to take your skills to that ultimate broadcast medium – television? Probably not, because there the rules are all different. It turns out that there are four simple things that you can do to make sure that you shine on the “boob tube”.

Jo Jo Harder is a fashion designer who found herself being asked to appear on television shows after she started her “America’s Top Dog Model” contest. Talk about being unprepared! Through her struggles and learning she has come up with four top tips for how a presenter should prepare to appear on television. Here they are:

  1. Know Your Subject & Be Prepared To Talk About It: So this sounds sort of silly, but in the end it’s really the reason that you are on television in the first place – you are the expert. One thing that you need to understand about television is that it’s all about time management: you need to speak in short, crisp statements that leave an impression. Your time on camera will be very short and knowing your stuff will help you to make the most of it. I’m hoping that it goes without saying that you should spend some serious time practicing answering probable questions.
  2. Study Your Customer – The TV Show: Even if you’ve never seen the show that you are going to be appearing on before, you had better spend some time coming up to speed on it. You need to know the names of the hosts, the name of the show’s producer, and of course the basic format of the show. You need to know EVERYTHING that you can find out about the show including what time of day it is on, how long it’s been on the air, where taping is going to be taking place. Of course, you also need to know WHAT you are expected to be talking about and just how long you will be expected to be speaking.
  3. Looks Count (A Lot!): No matter what your mom told when you were growing up, on TV looks really do count for a lot. It’s not so much about your looks (you look maaavvolous darling), but rather it’s all about the clothes that you choose to wear. What you want to wear are bright, rich colors. What Harder recommends that we stay away from are white, ivory, and pastels with the exception of women’s blouses and men’s shirts worn under a jacket. Hopefully it goes without saying that EVERYONE needs to stay from bold prints, plaids, and check patterns. If you show up early enough and have a pleasant personality, you just might be able to get some attention from the show’s makeup artist. This can be critical because without some help, we all have a bad habit of looking “washed out” under bright lights. Now just make sure that you’ve combed the hair and trimmed the nails and you should be good to go!
  4. Maintain Your Cool: Remember that television is all about ratings and so the show is having you on in order to try to boost their ratings. That means that anything can happen (“That’s interesting, but let me now introduce your long lost father…!”). Sit with your hands in your lap, your feet crossed away from the camera and look into the eyes of the person who is interviewing you. Smile as much as you can without seeming too weird. Help the show to manage its time by keeping your answers short and to the point. Always be prepared for the host to do something unusual and keep your cool at all times.

So what do you think about this list? Is there anything on the list that you don’t think is important? What should be added to the list? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristle Heddlesten February 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Very good text. I’ve found your site via Yahoo and I’m really glad about the information you provide in your posts. Btw your blogs layout is really messed up on the Chrome browser. Would be really great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the great work!

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Brittaney Castillion May 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm

This may sound stupid, but did you write is yourself or used some source? Would you mind if i place it on my blog with the source link?

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Dr. Jim Anderson May 6, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Brittaney: I wrote it all myself — spelling errors and all. You are more than welcome to reuse, just please attribute it to me and include a link back to this blog. Thanks!

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barna February 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

thanks alot

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barbara May 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Thank you for these tips….further question for you….
I get soooo nervous when speaking in front of a camera and I feel my heart pounding and short of breathe….how do I calm myself to get over the physical reaction…this happens even when I prepared…I have so many interviews coming up (brief ones thank goodness!) Please advise me…I will practice…..

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