Media Training: The Golden Rules of TV Interviews


Previously, we discussed maintaining control of an interview caller and conveying your message. As a wrap-up to our media relations series on the “dos and don’ts” of interviewing and interacting with the media, we’ll focus on how to put your best foot forward in regard to television interviews.

What to wear to a televised interview?

The pressure to put your best foot forward and wear your most flattering dress or suit in the closet is heightened when preparing for a television interview. Feels like the first day of school.

In this case, less is actually more and the camera lens is not your friend. You are better off dressing for the camera lens versus dressing for your audience.

To do that, there are a few useful tips to help you look your best for your televised interview and make the lens your friend while, at the same time, looking good for your audience.

Men, I know it’s tempting and easy to run to that all-purpose black suit; however, this would be a great time to step outside of your comfort zone. Black does not contrast well with television, but a navy suit paired with a cool blue or natural-toned tie that accents your suit would be pleasing to both the camera lens and your audience.

Photo: “Barack Obama Headshots” by Steve Jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Notice that President Obama is wearing a basic colored blue suit and a pastel tie. You can even do a pastel colored shirt.

No double standards here, women, try to limit the amount of black you wear and avoid busy, shiny patterns. Bright colors are your friend and do agree with the camera lens.

Photo: Katie Couric AP Photo/Disney-ABC Domestic TV, Ida Mae Astute

In televised interviews, simple patterns and solid colors are the rules of thumb. Make it easy on the eyes. You want your audience to pay attention to what you are saying, not on what you are wearing.

A positive example of this is Katie Couric pictured in the photograph above. Notice that she is wearing a solid color and minimal jewelry. There is little to distract the viewer from what’s being discussed or showcased on the segment.

Similarly, hair and nails should be neat and groomed. Nail polish should also be a light, neutral color. If you’re on camera holding a product or demonstrating an action with your hands, you don’t want your nail color to be getting all of the attention.

And, lastly, makeup. Ladies AND gentlemen, do not go overkill. Minimal in this instance also works to your benefit; colorless, translucent powder can be used for both women and men. Oil-blotting tissues from your local pharmacy can also help control shine. You may also ask the news station what they suggest to make sure you’re camera-ready for their bright (and hot!) lights.

For more advice on getting ready for television interviews or media relations, contact us at The Brandon Agency.