How to rock Zoom and podcast media interviews

The pandemic has made video and audio interviews more commonplace.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Being confined to working from home has accelerated the use of video calls and opened up a new, easy and accepted way for the media and businesses to create video content.

Similarly, podcast interviews can be recorded online with participants sitting anywhere in the world.

Many of the UK’s biggest broadcasters have switched to online recording as safe way to produce content instead of in-person interviews.

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s Ways To Change The World podcast (a favourite of mine) is just one example.

What all this means is the likelihood of being asked to do a video or audio interview is increasing.

But do you know the dos and don’ts so that you look and sound your best?

Here are a few key pointers:

Zoom video interviews

Camera position: Have your computer’s camera (or external camera) at eye level so you are looking directly at it, rather than down or up. (It’s generally a more flattering angle too.)

Choice of outfit: Solid neutral colours look better on camera – avoid stripes and big patterns.

Interruptions: Turn off anything that could ring, chime or buzz. Landlines can be particularly problematic. And try and reduce the risk of a pet or child invasion – unless you want to be an internet meme.

Movement: Try and stay still but relaxed – not stiff. Big gestures and lots of movement don’t look good when you are in a Zoom-sized frame – and they can cause the picture to freeze as there is more information to process.

Background: Check what is behind you and potentially in the shot, is it something you want an audience to see?

Podcast interviews

Use your notes: Make the most of the fact people can’t see you and keep your notes to hand for easy reference.

Add energy to your voice: There are two easy ways of doing this – smile and stand up. If you smile it can give your voice a more energetic tone (and no one can see you). And similarly with standing up for the interview if you can do so without being too far from the microphone.

Interruptions: Same as for video interviews, turn everything off.

No waffle: Podcast interviews get edited and rambling makes the job more tricky. So you don’t risk getting edited out, say enough to get your point across but not too much.

Patience: Don’t talk over the journalist/presenter or other interviewees, if it is a discussion-style podcast with a few different contributors. It will most likely be edited out as listeners can’t here clearly what is being said.

If you are new to press interviews and want to learn more about how they work, how to get quoted and handle difficult questions then drop me an email about my media training. Workshops are all online.

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