Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog
6 Tips to Slay Your
Zoom Media Interview
February 17, 2021
A virtual media interview via Zoom, versus an in-person interview, has become standard during the pandemic and appears here to stay. A Zoom media interview may seem easy enough. You jump on the Zoom call and go, right?

Not exactly. There are some pitfalls to avoid.

Below are my 6 easy-to-follow tips to slay your Zoom media interview like a professional.
#1 Look into the Camera
This tip may seem obvious, but wait until you try and do it! Instinctively you will want to look at your monitor to see the person interviewing you, rather than at the camera.

It's hard to keep your eyes focused on the small, round camera lens because it is so impersonal and feels like you are talking into a void. However, when you turn your eyes away from the camera, you are not connecting with the audience. This can come across as unfocused or disingenuous and therefore can undermine your credibility as an interviewee.

I have done plenty of Zoom interviews and personally find this difficult, and my clients do too at first. My suggestion is to put a neon colored post-it or a bright sticker right above the lens to help keep your focus.

#2 Position Your Camera at Eye Level
You have probably seen photos of yourself when the shot is taken from below your face. You likely have noticed that this does not produce the best image of you. It tends to accentuate a double chin, possibly gives you jowls, or maybe you just look heavier or uncharacteristically stern.

The same outcome occurs when you position your camera for a Zoom interview below your face. In other words, don't do it.

Whether you are using a built-in computer camera, or have attached a camera to the top of your computer, be sure that the camera lens is positioned at eye level or just above your eyes. If you are using a laptop while sitting at a desk - the most common scenario for interviewees - you will probably need to raise your laptop by placing it on books or some other sturdy object.
#3 Lighting for the Win
Good lighting for a Zoom media interview means having the lighting source in front of you, rather than to the side of you, or above, below or behind you. The light source preferably is just above your eye level.

Natural sunlight works if you are next to a window (and facing it) and it is sufficiently light outside. A lamp light can also work if the light is bright, but not too bright as to appear stark. Stay away from fluorescent lights or colored lights.

Ideally, you will use a ring light. There are all sorts of right lights available on the market for different purposes. For a Zoom interview, a simple "selfie ring light" that clips to the top of your computer is more than fine. These devices are easy to use and provide the bright, diffused light that makes your skin appear even in tone and your eyes brighter and more alert.

Given commentary on-air and gotten the bug to do it regularly? Check out my insights on how to become a TV political commentator.

#3 Audio Best Practices
First thing's first: get yourself a headset or earbuds.

These devices cut down on background noise and make it easier for the interviewer and audience to hear you.

Another audio consideration is the room you are in during the interview. A room without much in it and hard flooring, especially if you are using your computer's microphone, can produce a very distracting echo. So try a room that isn't sparse and has carpeting.

Another piece of equipment you may want to consider purchasing, but is not necessary, is a USB microphone. This device produces optimal sound.

Finally, don't forget to unmute yourself when you are about to speak!
#4 Basic, If Any Fashion Accessories
The viewing public can only see a portion of you during a Zoom interview, so what they see is very noticeable. A pair of dangling earrings are a no-no for an in-person interview since they are distracting, doubly so for a Zoom interview.

Either skip the jewelry for your interview, or stick to the basics. For women, stud earrings, a simple necklace with a small pendant or a thin bracelet are all acceptable. For men, it's best to avoid jewelry except for your wedding band.
#5 Instead, Wear Your Background
Like an Accessory
Your fashion accessories might be limited, but there is one accessory every interview automatically has: their background. Like accessories that you wear, the space that you have chosen to be interviewed in says something about who you are. Keep it simple, so that the audience is focused on your message, not the superhero figurine collection on your shelves.

That said, you don't want your background to be boring, like a blank white wall. Go for something tasteful like a bookshelf, or a cared-for house plant (not a dying one so much). Be sure to avoid anything in that shot that is personal, like a bed, or something potentially embarrassing like dirty laundry.
#6 Keep on Smiling
It doesn't matter the type of show, all show producers want interviewees who are enthusiastic about the interview and receptive to the interviewer. Smiling is the easiest and most convincing way to achieve this.

This doesn't mean that you should be grinning ear to ear throughout the interview. Act natural, but upbeat. Nod your head and smile softly when the interviewer is asking you a question or making a point. If the interviewer says something humorous or something you strongly agree with, open up that good-looking smile of yours. In other words, vary your positive facial expressions to convey your interest in the conversation.
Need more help with a Zoom interview, or need assistance booking interviews for your nonfiction book? Reach out to me today to learn how I can put 20 years of PR nonfiction book experience to work for you.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
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