Face to Face Interviews Are a Rarity

Zoom, Skype, WebEx and Microsoft Teams are now the standard platforms for most media interviews. Given this fact, it is important for every organization and every subject matter expert to present the best face possible. As with most communication, a successful media interview delivered through a web app doesn’t happen on its own. Success takes planning and preparation.

There are nuances and easy-to-implement standards that will lead to a successful interview with a reporter. These are also helpful tips for your next web meeting.

Here are some simple items that should be on your Zoom checklist:

1) How is your connection?

Glitchy video and sound is often the result of a poor connection. Take advantage of the faster speeds for both downloading and uploading video. You may need to upgrade your service. It you’re using a wireless connection, make sure you are close enough to the wi-fi or booster to have a consistently strong signal. If possible, use a hardwire to your computer to guarantee speed and reliability.

2) Aesthetics matter.

The look and feel of any web appearance starts with lighting. Be sure you have enough light on your face to produce a natural image. A mix of daylight and room lighting will often achieve this. Consider investing in a small LED light to create an even and natural image. Avoid back light that will put you in silhouette. Your interview “set” should not have a door or window behind you. Also, declutter your set. You don’t need to display every book you’ve ever read, tempting the audience to determine your literary taste instead of listening to your ideas.

3) Look ‘em in the eye.

Headshot portrait screen application view of overjoyed young African American man sit at home have pleasant web conference on computer, smiling biracial millennial male talk on video call online

It is best to direct your gaze directly into a camera positioned at eye level. The natural tendency is to look at the image of the person to whom you are speaking, but if that image is in the lower part or on the side of your screen, you won’t give direct eye contact to the interviewer or audience. Be aware of the camera’s location. Address the camera’s lens as if looking directly into the face of the interviewer. If it helps, position the window of the person on the other end of the call to a place on the screen just below the camera lens. This will focus your attention on the audience. If you’re using a laptop, elevate the computer so you’re not looking down at the person to whom you’re talking. No one wants to see your ceiling or a fan spinning overhead.

4) I can’t hear you!

Quality sound makes all the difference in a web interview. Most computers have embedded microphones, but they don’t always do justice to the sound of your voice. Being closer to the microphone helps, so does a room that doesn’t ring hollow or have ambient sound like traffic outside or dogs and kids nearby. As with lighting, it may pay to invest in an external condenser microphone that will pick-up and transmit your voice clearly, without extraneous noise. This may take some experimentation, but once you’ve dialed-in your sound, your thoughts and ideas will be clearly heard.

5) Have a message.

Group Corporate Video Conference Computer Monitor Screen

The last item on your checklist is preparation. It is key to know what you’re going to say before logging onto the application. No matter what technology you use in an interview, Rockford Gray prescribes the fundamentals of media coaching. That means understanding the audience to whom you are speaking . . . creating a limited set of strong messages and supporting proof points . . . anticipating the toughest questions you could be asked . . . and delivering your answers with style and confidence.

For help in preparing for you next web interview or meeting.