With a few quick tricks, these startup founders learned that being in front of the camera can be more fun than stressful.
Great news! Your startup is picking up press and a reporter has asked if they can interview you on camera. The exposure is exciting for your startup. But you’re
slightly really terrified. Because you will be put on the spot and all eyes will be on you — and your startup.
So we asked our community of founders: What’s your best tip for a founder who is participating in an on–camera interview for the first time? Here’s what they had to say.
1. Be Very High Energy
Make sure to be very high energy and speak with a lot of intonation, more than you would do in a normal conversation. You may think you are overdoing it, but on camera, it does not look that way at all. If in doubt, use your phone to film yourself first, and when you play it back, you will see that your high energy works well on film.
2. Join Toastmasters
If you know that you’re going to be interviewed on camera or speaking in front of a crowd, the best thing you can do is practice. I can’t recommend Toastmasters enough as a place to get that practice in with a real, live audience. It helped me learn about my own quirks (saying “um” and “so”) and improve both my speaking abilities and my comfort level.
3. Move Naturally
I suggest thinking about it like a lot of blog posts — outline your talking points, summarize them by number and be succinct. Use pauses to your advantage, speak confidently, smile when you can and move your hands and head naturally. You also want to look at the person interviewing you, not at the camera. If possible, record yourself beforehand.
4. Smile and Know Your Soundbites
I’ve found that keeping a smile on your face is key on camera. But beyond that, you want to know what you’re going to say. Think about the questions you might get asked and prepare some answers ahead of time. Practice your short 10-30 second soundbites so you don’t need to think before you answer, the answer is already in your bones.
5. Forget the Audience
The idea of being on camera and being interviewed scares most people; what makes it less threatening for me is to not think about it. This is harder said then done, I know. Instead, think of the interviewer as your best friend who wants to just catch up on all the wonderful things you’re doing in your life. You’ll feel less scripted in your responses and will come across more natural to the audience.
6. Be Comfortable and Have a Conversation
Wearing clothes you feel comfortable in will keep you from fidgeting with them too much. Also, thinking of it as a conversation rather than focusing on thecamera will help you to keep from rambling and will get rid of the “ums.”
7. Outline and Practice
Define three to five points you’d like to get across in your interview and practice delivering them while having a friend record you on your phone. Watch the footage back and you’ll notice where you did well and what you need to work on for your live shoot.
8. Sit Up Straight
Thank the countless hours slaving over your computer for your current slouched posture. Before the cameras start rolling, stack your spine like someone is pulling you up by your hair. Stacking your spine not only makes you look taller but it opens up your diaphragm as well. What you’re saying is important, but so is the image you portray — make sure it’s a confident one.
9. Enunciate Clearly
Pronounce everything clearly and project, but don’t shout. Practice tongue twisters before your interview and be confident in what you’re going to speak about — both will help you speak clearly during an on–camera interview.
10. Trust Yourself, and Don’t Memorize
If you’re able to get the questions beforehand that’s great, but don’t lock yourself into scripted answers. Otherwise, you might lose the natural dynamic of, and passion in, your voice. Remember, you were asked to do the interview because someone thinks you have something important to say. Trust in yourself, speak from the heart and remember that passion inspires others.
11. Demonstrate Passion
First: Push the passion! Enthusiasm goes a long way and people are drawn to passion and excitement. Even if you’re feeling nervous, if the passion comes through, the interviewer and audience can’t help but be drawn in. Second: Don’t forget to tell a fun anecdote that lets people catch a glimpse of yourpersonality. And finally: Wear something you love — you’ll feel more comfortable and confident.