What I Learned My First Time on Live TV

This week I shot my first live TV segment for FOX on the Napwell (http://www.napwell.com), the world’s first napping mask and a Kickstarter project I launched with one of my longtime friends, Justin Lee.

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Having never been on live TV, here are 11 things that I learned:

  1. News anchors are fantastic speakers. The teleprompter moves quickly, and they are consistently poised and speak slowly and clearly. There is a lot to learn.
  2. Plug, baby plug. Don’t assume that people will know what your website is or how to buy your product. In our case, they did not show the website address on screen so make sure to say it out loud.
  3. Know your themes and frame the conversation. The anchor will naturally guide the segment but have 2-3 things that you want to say and work them in.  In our case it was our Kickstarter success, the fact that we iterate to solve real problems, and our target customer scenarios.
  4. News teams are a prime example of operational efficiency. The team is lean and without redundancy.
  5. Know which camera you are supposed to look into. There were a few of them and I wasn’t sure where to be looking.
  6. Take pictures!
  7. Be yourself. I tried to sprinkle in a few jokes because that’s what I do normally. It put me at ease, and hopefully you chuckle at one of them.
  8. Wear something with pockets. They give you a little microphone box that needs to go somewhere so make it easy for them.
  9. Time goes by very quickly.
  10. Wear solid colors. A pro tip picked up from my new friend and airplane rowmate and Director of Public Relations at Reputation.com. Thanks Leslie!
  11. Smile, you don’t get to be on TV every day. It will remind you to be less nervous and have fun.

Still much to learn, but how do you think we did?


Discussion — One Response

  • Tyler Walker 03/14/2014 on 4:08 pm

    I’ve only been on a few local stations for various simple interview segments, and it’s a pretty nervous experience. I agree with you on a lot of what you said, but particularly #5 and #2. A TV crew is rushing around trying to get stuff setup and isn’t going to always handhold you and tell you where to look. And you can’t assume that they’ll have graphics on the screen that tells you what your product is or what it’s about or what the URL is. Make sure that you say it at least once, preferably multiple times. That’s the advice that’s always given in radio.

    That being said, unless you have money or connections, it takes some doing to get a new startup on the air. Odds are that you’ll have difficulty getting the right connection and getting on the air. Many companies try and use social media (see http://www.facebooklikesreviews.com for instance) to try and get around these gatekeepers and go right to the people that they’re targeting. I recommend just trying all different things and seeing what works best for you. If you can get a TV segment, go for it, but prepare like a madman.

    And your interview was pretty friendly. I’ve had a friend that went on for a Bill O’Reilly satelite segment, and he said that the TV crew gave him a very bad sound setup with a sound delay and it was nearly impossible to hear anybody and he was getting this delay feedback in his ears. The audio problems made him look like a fool on national TV. This might not apply to most people, but if you’re going on for a hostile segment, beware of things like this.

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