From fear factor to X Factor – tips for in-house TV presenters

01 Mar 2016

Imagine you were given the ‘opportunity’ to be a presenter on a corporate film or TV programme – would it be your worst nightmare, or a dream come true? We asked our inhouse video expert, Lorraine, who has presented many corporate videos over the years with various clients.

When ‘London Live’ launched, I got ready for work with it playing on the telly. It’s not because I was a great fan, but there was something fascinating about the presenters. Some professionals but others were clearly new to the whole thing. I found that endearing, and deep down I was rooting for them to do well -knowing how they were feeling inside while smiling through gritted teeth!

Being on TV is a big deal, but doing it at your place of work can also feel like a big ask. However there
are three golden rules that will help anyone make a connection with the audience:

1. Interview for emotion – Film can capture all sorts of non-verbal emotions and so bring a message to life. A laugh, a frown, or even a nervous twitch can make the person you’re talking to come across as more human and believable. So always interview to get a reaction.

This gives your video purpose by adding clarity and an extra dimension to the written word (on the intranet, for example). Ask “What’s keeping you awake at night about this project?” rather than “What are the key challenges?”

2.Speak with expression –Whether you are reading from an autocue, or remembering lines, avoid sounding like a robot. But never try to mimic the way news presenters speak, it won’t be authentic. Just be yourself – don’t dumb down your facial expressions and always use language that feels natural to you. Tweak words or phrases where appropriate, which will in turn put viewers at ease too.

For example, would you say ‘television’, ‘telly’ or ‘on the box’? Or perhaps you’d say ‘folks’ instead of ‘people’. It’s OK to smile too, by the way.

3. Keep it conversational –Make your delivery warm, and imagine you’re catching up with a friend over a cup of tea (even if you’re talking to the camera lens). In an interview situation pace is important.

Listen for key words to help you move from one question to the next. Or have a few bridge phrases up your sleeve like, “Let’s keep the focus on customer service, which brings me to my next question on just that….”

And finally make sure you give it some ‘tits and teeth’ –this is my favourite piece of advice! Go for it and enjoy it. Perfection is practically impossible, and no one is going to criticiseyou for trying your best.

You’ll be amazed at how forgiving audiences are, because deep down they’re glad it’s you up there and not them. So if you’re chosen to represent your business area, team or project on screen –either through an audition process or recommendation by the CEO –don’t shy away. It’s a learning experience to enjoy, it will raise your profile and you may never look back.

If you have been ‘given an opportunity to present’, or are interested in what TV training could do for your senior execs or employee presenters, drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.