7 Insights on How to Pull Off a Great Television Interview​

television interview

Like anything else, practice makes perfect

 

 

It’s funny what a television camera can do to a person. I’ve seen some of the most eloquent and polished public speakers absolutely freeze when being interviewed in front of a television camera. But then again, I’ve also seen the opposite: Folks that just turn into absolute rock stars when the lights go on.

As someone with plenty of television interviews under my belt, but more importantly as someone that has seen some of the very best being interviewed, here’s a short list of how to pull off a great television interview.

1.  Know Your Stuff

Study up on whatever it is that you are being interviewed for. Cram if you have to, but make sure that you are prepared. If you show up to an interview unprepared, it will show.  This doesn’t mean that you need to prepare like you are defending a dissertation, but you most definitely want to come across as knowledgeable and informed

2.  What Is the One Thing You Want to Get Across?

I was once told when prepping for an interview, what are the two to three things that you went to get across? It’s a good piece of advice that really narrows down your focus when prepping for the interview. Rehearse the two to three points you want to get across almost exactly the way they are going to come out of your mouth.

3.  Play to Your Strengths

Just like you have a game plan going in to the interview, so does the reporter. A good reporter is trying to break a story and find that angle that no one else is reporting on. It’s possible that the reporter may try to trip you up or get you to comment on something outside of your comfort zone. If that’s the case, don’t be disengeneous by giving a run-around statement that doesn’t answer the question. You are much better off politely stating that you do not know the answer to that question or not prepared to answer at this time.

4.  Keep it Simple

For most interviews, simplicity is king. In other words, don’t feel like you need to impress others with your rich vocabulary. No matter the subject, television correspondents and producers place a lot of value in clarity. Don’t string together long and complicated sentences to make your point. Save your speech on existentialism for another time.

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Israel Ortega
Israel Ortega serves as The Heritage Foundation's chief spokesman to Spanish-language news media, including print, radio, television and online. And as editor of Heritage's sister website, Libertad (libertad.org), Ortega is responsible both for the content and for marketing it to a variety of audiences, including media, coalitions and legislators. Ortega regularly contributes commentary to prominent Spanish-language newspapers and online publications. He is a frequent guest commentator on major Spanish radio and television outlets, including Univision, Telemundo and CNN International discussing Heritage’s research and analysis across a range of policy fronts. Ortega writes a monthly column for El Diario La Prensa, the largest and oldest Spanish-language publication in New York City. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal as well as digital venues such as National Review Online, Real Clear Politics, the Daily Caller, the Huffington Post, NBC Latino, Fox News Latino and Latin Business Today.