How important is visual presentation for television appearances? Very important. My seven best tips for having a successful television appearance are:
- Work with a professional makeup artist. They can be found at upscale spas, salons or in the cosmetic area of major department stores like Macy’s. For this client, we worked with a MAC makeup artist, who was able bring out her best facial features.
- Don’t fade into the background. Avoid blending in or clashing with the color tones on the interview set by watching previous interviews done online or on television the week before. The blue outfit that was chosen for this interview made my client stand out. Viewers noticed; we saw numerous comments on Facebook praising her style.
- Wear clothing that fits. Ill-fitting suits or dresses distract viewers from what you’re saying. You want them to discuss your view, not what you’re wearing!
- Men, play it safe with your patterns. Don’t wear red, overly colorful or novelty ties. Focus group audiences judge men in red ties to be too aggressive and unlikable. Conservative-colored black, blue or grey suits with blue, pink, purple or green ties present a much more positive image in viewers’ minds. Star Trek, Batman or Spiderman may be fun for the office, but are distracting if you are talking about cancer research or an upcoming charity event.
- Dress for the interview situation. Guests should dress similarly to the television host or news anchors—professional attire such as suits or dresses are much better in the studio than sweatshirts or jeans. Exceptions to this basic rule are fitness, cooking, painting or other segments that make professional-wear impractical or hazardous. An outdoor interview feature on maple syrup, for example, would be a much better place to wear jeans, flannel shirts and sweatshirts than inside the studio.
- Be your best self. Personal hygiene is paramount—brush your teeth, have properly maintained hair and clean clothing for your on-air appearance.
- Relax! Avoid stressful actions that will throw off your focus, like intense business cellphone conversations before the interview. Never use alcohol or other substances to attempt relaxation.
After having prepared, booked and assisted on more than 200 national and local television interviews since 2005, I can tell you that these simple strategies have produced successful results.