The holiday shopping season is about to go into full swing and so are the spokespersons who will be talking about and demonstrating products on television.
As you watch the plethora of spokespersons this holiday season, see how many of them not only nailed their interviews but compelled you to take action. It’s a sure bet that the ones who got your attention had media training.
If you represent a spokesperson, or happen to find yourself in a position to advise one, you can help them to be more effective with advance preparation.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates 2017 holiday retail sales will grow between 3.7 and 4.2% while on-line and other non-store sales will be 8-12% higher than 2016. If you are the spokesperson, you will increase the odds of viewers buying your products this season by following these basic guidelines.
Practice Key Messages
Prepare two to three key messages that you want to communicate and then practice, and practice some more so that you can focus in on them like a laser beam during the interview. With the stakes so high this season, you may want to get media training before going on air.
This checklist will help you prepare to deliver a memorable interview:
- Learn as much about the program as possible. Watch it in advance to see how the host or hostess conducts an interview.
- Anticipate key questions the interviewer may ask and shape your key messages accordingly.
- Anticipate negative questions and be prepared to turn them into positive responses.
- If you are visiting an unfamiliar city, book a car service to drive you to the interview. You don’t have time to get lost.
During the Interview
- Mention your organization and product by name rather than “we” or “it.”
- If discount coupons are available let the audience know how to get them.
- Tell the truth. Don’t try to deceive. You can’t win with that approach.
- Dramatize your points with anecdotes that you carefully select for relevancy and to stimulate interest in the product.
- Gestures provide added emphasis. Keep those gestures close to your body without covering your face. Show your interest by leaning in toward the interviewer. Look at the interviewer and not the camera.
- Be prepared to summarize your key message points as time winds down.
- Thank your host at the end of the interview.
Your Appearance Matters
Your appearance matters as much as – and possibly more – than what you say. If you’re a woman wearing long dangling earrings and a pile of bracelets that jangle every time you move, that’s what the audience will remember. Make your message points the focal point of the interview, not you.
Wearing holiday colors is acceptable, but don’t overdo it. Reindeer or Santa’s on sweaters or ties are too busy for television. Earrings or other jewelry that resemble holiday decorations are overkill.
Here are additional tips for both women and men to make a positive first impression.
What to Wear
- Avoid suits with stripes, checks or patterns. Medium-tone greys or blue are most appropriate for men. For women, light-colored dresses, suits and blouses work best. Pants suits eliminate any concern with skirt length and showing too much leg.
- Men should wear over the calf socks so that their bare legs don’t show when they cross their legs.
- Wear what you would wear for business, no matter how the interviewer dresses. In today’s relaxed business environment a blazer, for a man, with an open-neck shirt is appropriate. A tailored blouse or dress is fine for women. Stay away from ruffles, bows and cleavage.
- If you wear glasses, avoid heavy, dark frames. Never wear tinted or dark glasses.
Your Hair and Makeup
- Soft and simple hairstyles are most flattering. Avoid playing with or twisting your hair during the interview.
- Keep your makeup simple and natural. If the show has a makeup person, follow her advice. If not, bring your own face powder so that you eliminate a shiny or sweaty face that is a sign of nervousness.
- We always advise clients to apply their own makeup even if the show has a makeup person. Otherwise if you leave everything to a makeup person you’ve never met before, your own mother may not recognize you.
- Men need not be apprehensive about allowing an expert to apply makeup for television. Studio lighting makes everyone look ghoulish. Makeup definitely enhances your appearance.
If you, or a client of yours, is representing a retailer, a lot is riding on how professional you, or they, are in TV and broadcast interviews.
According to the NRF, for many traditional retailers, the holiday season can represent anywhere between 25-40% of their annual sales.
Practice your key messages, be sure to include them in the interview, dress appropriately and you will be a successful brand ambassador.
- Makeup makes you look more competent? Obvi. (lindseyjonesmakeup.com)
- Getting Your Small Business Ready for the Holidays (smallbiztrends.com)
- How important is your appearance in interviews? (viccareers.wordpress.com)