It’s TV Time: What A Speaker Should NOT Do On The Air

Forget Candid Camera, This Time It's For Real!
Forget Candid Camera, This Time It’s For Real!

Giving a speech in front of an audience can be one of the toughest things that you’ll ever do.Unless of course you are invited to be on television. Having watched 1,000’s of hours of television you might naturally assume that you are the perfect TV guest. That’s where you’d be wrong…

Why TV Is NOT Your Friend

Think about it for a moment, when you are giving a speech in front of an audience,you actually are in charge. You determine when things start, how they flow, and when your speech wraps up. None of that is true when you are on TV.

Instead, when you are on television you are at the mercy of the person who will be interviewing you. They get to pick when things start, just exactly what questions you’ll have to answer, andthey also control when your time is up.

If you are starting to feel just a bit helpless, then you are starting to get the point. Don’t despair: you can prepare for a TV interview andturn it into a success.

5 Things You Should NOT Do On Television

Patricia Corrigan is an author and a speaker who has appeared on many TV shows. Based on her experience, she’s been able to identifywhat speakers should not do when they find themselves facing a TV camera:


  • Clam Up: Long before you ever make it on air, you’ll find yourself talking with the production assistants. You had better start asking some questions so that you will have the information that you are going to need to do a good job of preparing. How long will it last? What time do you have to show up? Etc.



  • Don’t Prioritize: your time on TV will be short. Although you may have 20 things that you’d like to say, you’re not going to have a chance to cover all of them. Before your big day, take the time to prioritize what you’d like to say. This is going to involve some painful pruning, but it will pay off in making it easier for you to get your point across.



  • Read From Your Notes: there’s nothing that a host or a TV audience enjoys more than watching you look down and read off of your note-cards – NOT! TV interviews are all about you interacting with the host. If you are constantly looking at your notes then this level of interaction won’t be happening. Memorize your facts before the interview starts and you won’t need your notes.



  • Speak Like A Robot: If ever there was a place where vocal variety counted, then it’s on television. If you speak in a dry monotone, then the at home viewers will be voting with their remote control channel changers and you won’t be asked back. Work some energy in your voice and come across as being animated and really caring about what you are talking about.



  • Be A Know-It-All: There will be times when you get asked something that you may not know the answer to. If this happens, then you need to just admit that you don’t know it. If you try to bluster your way through it, then you’ll just end up tripping yourself up and it’s not going to end well.


What All Of This Means For You

Ultimately what we all want to do as speakers is to have our wordsmake the maximum impact on our audience. Television opens up a potentially huge audience to us. In order to make the most of any opportunity to appear on TV, we’ve got to be ready.

We’ve covered5 thingsthat as a speaker you’re not going to want to do the next time that you are invited to be on television. If you can avoid doing these things, then you’ll come across to the viewers as a knowledgeable expert in your area.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What do you think the best way to make facts & stats available to you during a TV interview is?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Getting up in front of a bunch of strangers can be a challenge for even the best public speaker. The really good ones realize that there is something that they can do about this: change strangers into friends. The challenge is that they don’t have a lot of time to pull this off. This is when your ability to “work a room” can really come in handy…