Three Things You Should Know About Interviews

A company exec in front of a live camera is a unique opportunity to connect directly with an audience. So why are so many of them so bad?

Spend some time watching the daytime programming at CNBC, for instance, and you’ll see what I mean. Most interviews are filled with buzzwords and non-news that have me remarking “wait, he didn’t even answer the question” more often than not.

Such stumbles don’t come with lots of hard work: PR people prepare soaringly generic talking points, which then get vetted by marketers to make sure they’re suitably skewed, and then approved by legal departments that ensure there’s nothing being said that has any meaning or future use.

It takes a community to produce a throwaway interview.

Before you prep for the next one, consider these three things you should know about live interviews:

Be a Human Being

The first, if not sole objective of any live TV appearance is to come across as a real human being. The medium is visual and visceral, so if your exec accomplishes nothing else, she or he will have succeeded in establishing credibility and rapport with the audience; without it, and even the most stunningly accurate comments come across as inauthentic, and therefore suspect.

This is easier said than done, since many top execs don’t really come across like real people in their daily lives. They’ve spent their careers learning to measure their responses, and guard their personal feelings or reactions. Some never had much of a personality in the first place, while others have horribly inflated opinions of their own likability.

So your primary task in preparing them for live interviews is to help them understand that the goal isn’t to appear smart or tough, and then prep them for revealing their humanity (or teach them a few tricks to pretend)…

Read the entire essay at Linkedin