The truth is: you don’t!
Understandably, people are nervous about being interviewed on camera. In fact, if you are currently running for prime minister and you’re about to interviewed by Jon Snow live on Channel 4 about NHS job cuts, well, yes – you SHOULD be nervous. But if it’s an interview about your company for a promotional video – just relax. Deep down, you know your stuff and any good interviewer will help you ease into it and simply talk.
1. If the subject is complicated and there are important points to be covered, then you might like to jot down a few bullet points to get your head round it. But, whatever you do, do not write a word-for-word script. Unless you’re Ryan Gosling, you will not pull off the natural look and it will sound learnt.
2. Jump in and make mistakes. Like a cold swimming pool, it feels OK after the initial shock and you will wonder what all the fuss was about. For your first attempt, just speak: make mistakes but keep going until you have fully answered a question. If you keep going back on the first few words like a stuck record, you will lock up and it will never feel right. You can do it – just get it out in the open.
3. When you’ve finished, stop. The interviewer won’t interrupt until you’ve reached the end of what you want to say. But don’t feel you have to fill the silence. Give us a few sentences to work with, but don’t feel you have to give a huge speech. These days almost everyone deals in sound-bites. Less is ALWAYS more.
4. Put your answer in context and don’t refer back to the interviewer. Remember, on most occasions, what you say will be used as sound-bites alongside others. The interviewer’s question won’t be there to make sense of what you’re saying so try to create stand-alone answers. Also, avoid saying “as I said earlier” or “as you know” or any of those word-worms. And, please, DO NOT SAY “SO” AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY BLOOMIN’ ANSWER! (Sorry – a little bug-bear of mine…)
5. Enjoy. Yes, easy for me to say, but as a film-crew, we’re there to make you look good. If you don’t look good, we will be wasting our time and we won’t be able to use the footage. Trust us that, in the moment of time that you are being interviewed, we have your best interests absolutely at the forefront of our minds. But don’t be offended if we pass you in the street a couple of days later and don’t even recognise you… Don’t worry! We’ve got your back.
Good luck and see you on set!