How to prepare for a remote Zoom media interview
In a time when in-person communication is little to none, video conferencing tools like Zoom have become the go-to for meetings, happy hours, creative brainstorming sessions, and...
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In a time when in-person communication is little to none, video conferencing tools like Zoom have become the go-to for meetings, happy hours, creative brainstorming sessions, and even media interviews.
If you’ve been approached by the media for an interview during the COVID-19 pandemic, then there’s a strong possibility it’s going to be conducted over Zoom. Whether for a live interview segment or a discussion with a reporter, there are a few things to keep in mind to successfully navigate a remote Zoom media interview.
Remote interviews are new territory for most, including the media themselves, so it only makes sense to prepare as much as possible by asking a ton of questions ahead of time. Even if you’ve done an interview with the media before, doing one over Zoom comes with its own quirks.
In order to fully prepare, ask the reporter questions about what the interview will entail. Everything from the discussion topics to the anticipated duration to when the interview or article will be live. Or, if you’re working with a PR firm, make sure to discuss any questions you have with your PR team and they will get all of the information from the media and relay it back to you. Knowing what to expect from the interview will prevent getting caught off guard from any last minute curveballs.
Even though we’re all working from home with spouses, kids, and pets around, it’s essential to conduct the media interview from a quiet, distraction-free room. Whether you choose to set up in your home office, living room, or kitchen, be sure that the room is well-lit, preferably from natural light, and quiet for the duration of the interview. It’s also important to make sure the background is clean and minimal. While it’s natural and acceptable to have objects on the walls or in the camera’s view–it’s your house, after all–just make sure it’s not distracting.
There’s nothing worse than hopping on a video call and realizing that the other person can’t see or hear you. Not only does this waste time for both parties, but it sets the tone for the rest of the interview. During an interview with the media, whether it’s a live TV segment or a conversation with a reporter, you want to be fully focused on the discussion, not worrying about whether your camera or audio is working properly.
To prevent a tech snafu from happening, it’s crucial to test your mic and camera before the interview. Consider setting up a video call with a friend or family member to confirm that everything on your end is working. Going into the interview knowing that your setup is good to go will ease your mind and give you one less thing to think about.
Even though the interview isn’t taking place in person or in the studio, it’s still important to dress appropriately for the audience and to fit your company’s brand persona. It goes without saying that you should dress professionally for a remote media interview, at least from the waist up. But it would also be wise to make sure your bottom half is also dressed up, even if it’s out of the shot. Not only does this ensure that you’re prepared in the off chance that you’ll need to stand up during the interview, but getting fully dressed also helps put you in the right mindset to talk business.
Another thing to consider is the color and design of your top. Typically, patterns and bright colors don’t translate well on screens, so it’s best to stick to simple colors and minimal designs.
Whether you’re an interview pro or this is your first time doing a media interview, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your presentation skills. If you work with a PR firm, they can take you through a media training session to make sure you’re fully prepared to handle an interview and represent your company. There are also media training courses and videos you can find online if you want a quick refresh.
The key things a media training session will focus on is what you say and how you say it. This means you’ll learn how to stay on message and keep your talking points succinct, as well as how to present yourself by focusing on posture, articulation, and eye contact.
Just like you would for an in-person interview, it’s essential to prepare for the discussion by reviewing your talking points ahead of time. The media is interviewing you for a reason, whether that’s because of a recent company initiative, a product launch, or because you’re an expert on a certain subject, so it’s important to position yourself as an authority figure.
To strengthen your knowledge on the subject, do a little research on industry trends and gather important facts or statistics to include in your talking points. And since the interview will be over Zoom, you can jot down a few notes or important facts you want to bring up and keep them offscreen as a reminder. Just be sure that you remain engaged in the conversation and aren’t glancing down at your notes for more than a couple seconds. The more preparation you do in advance, the more confident you will come across during the interview.
About Sam Lauron: Sam is a freelance lifestyle writer and a copywriter at Swyft, which has been listed as one of the best PR firms in Austin and a top digital marketing agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft has satellite offices where it offers PR in San Francisco and Houston.