During the course of our agency’s 20 years, we’ve provided clients insight and advice to assist them in conducting media interviews. Most of our media training is focused on message delivery and specific techniques to instill confidence in the interviewee so they can share relevant information.

In recent months, a phenomenon which was mostly only used for national interviews has become much more common place: video interviews.

With the need for social distancing and work-from-home orders in effect for an extended period of time, media – and businesses – have become more comfortable conducting interviews virtually through their computer rather than just over the phone, in a TV studio, or in their office.

The key ingredient to any interview is the message, second to that is how you deliver you message, and third – and still critically important – are the nonverbal cues you provide when conducting the interview.

With the likelihood of work environments continuing to be remote, your media relations efforts do not have to stop. Here are some of our top tips for doing an interview via video conferencing.

Look Straight at Your Camera.

It’s quite easy to find yourself looking down or up at your camera placement or be distracted by looking at your own reflection in the video call. We’ve all done it. However, when participating in a video interview, take the time to set yourself and your camera up to look directly at the viewer. This reinforces genuine attention for the reporter, and in turn, a connection to the viewers.

Find a Quiet, Undisturbed Place.

Kids learning virtually, your spouse also working from home, your dog or cat pouncing on you at any given time. This is our reality today. Colleagues, friends, partners and vendors can all overlook these challenges. But when doing an interview, take the time to lock yourself away to prepare for, and conduct, the video interview. Again, we want viewers to focus on your message, not your distractions.

Find and Use Natural Light for Your Face/Environment.

We’ve all been on video calls with friends and staff members in which we only see the shadow of their face. It reminds one of stories in which people do not want their full identity revealed.  Obviously, this is not what you want. Show yourself! Trust comes through the face and individuals cannot trust who/what they cannot see when you are sharing insight.

Look Carefully at Your Background.

Take a moment to turn on your camera before the interview to determine if any background items such as plants, photos or a messy room comes through with your face. While these can be humorous, that’s likely not what you are going for when sharing your message.

Don’t Use Bulky Headsets.

Unless you’re helping to land a plane, there’s no need to use the large, noise-cancelling (after all, you’re already in a quiet space, right?) headsets. While they may block out sound for you, they don’t block it for the listeners, and they take away from what you are communicating.

When you’ve taken the time to secure an interview on a topic you are passionate to speak about, don’t let the nonverbal cues drown out your message. And, if you need help in honing your message, we’d welcome the opportunity to engage with you – via video conferencing, of course!