How to do a live interview on a morning TV show

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a guest on a morning TV news show? Experts are often asked to come on-air to share advice with viewers, and doing live interviews is a great way for your organization to get exposure, or to promote a public event. Live interviews are the most challenging for novice spokespeople because there is no editing – it is live television. Last year I was on Good Day Sacramento┬áseveral times and my friend Gus shot this behind-the-scenes video during one interview:

As you can see, there is a lot happening in the studio. To give a good live interview, you must prepare ahead of time, practice what you’re going to say and focus on the anchor during the interview so the things happening around you are not a distraction. Some tips on giving live interviews include:

  • Prepare: Have your talking points written out. Make them short and succinct. Most producers ask for this well in advance of a live interview; be sure they know exactly what you want to say and work with producers to refine the interview topic into these main points. Take a copy of them with you to the studio – it’s ok to look at notes, especially if you are nervous. Write them out on a small note card or half sheet of paper.
  • Practice: The night before the interview, and in the green room while you are waiting to go on set immediately prior to the interview, practice what you’ll say out loud. Look in a mirror to see what expressions you have when you are saying them. Refer to your note card if you have to, but try to memorize as much as you can.
  • Focus: During the interview, focus on the anchor or anchors; forget about the camera and bright lights – you are having a conversation with somebody who wants to learn something from you – focus on them, make eye contact with them at all times. Let them lead you through the process. They might ask a question that you didn’t anticipate; don’t freak out, just go with the flow. Most of all, don’t stall the interview – if you need to steer the anchor back, refer to a talking point you haven’t mentioned yet.

Above all, have fun! Morning shows are typically more upbeat and producers enjoy having knowledgable guests who are engaging and demonstrate some personality. Have fun – you’re on TV!

Want to know how to get on a morning news show? Contact me to get a copy of JoePRguy’s PR Playbook: A Practical Guide to PR in 2014 – a new book that outlines the basics of pitching stories and interview ideas to the news media.

Wondering what the Good Day Sacramento segment looked like on-air? Watch it below, along with examples of other live interviews.