97% of the U.S. is in lockdown mode. Americans are finding themselves in a new bizarre world where things once done at the office or in a television studio are now being done in the home.
So, you’ve been working from home for a few weeks now – surely, you’ve learned a few things about what is working and what isn’t.
Meetings with clients, prospects and even colleagues have been replaced by Zoom, Go to Meeting, Skype and a host of other video chat platforms. TV weathermen are broadcasting from their living rooms, news personalities from their kitchens and a couple late-night hosts have found cozy spots in the attic.
No longer in a studio with lights and producers and in-person reporters, asset managers are finding themselves doing interviews at home in front of a computer monitor or on the phone. At SunStar, we’ve transitioned all client TV interviews to audio-video platforms – some from home, some still from the office with less than a skeleton crew.
We’ve assembled our top recommendations below to help you make the most of this “new normal” as we all keep ourselves, families and colleagues safe during this pandemic, whether talking with folks at the office, clients and prospects, or the media.
Dress for success
You may be at home working in pajamas or sweatpants all day, but if you’ve got an interview scheduled, make sure to dress the part. Investors need to see you as an authority projecting confidence in these unusual times. A manager in a sweatshirt with unkempt hair won’t likely instill the same level of confidence as someone in work attire. Putting on your suit or dress can help put you in the right frame of mind and subconsciously reminds us we’re in “professional” mode.
From your tone to your mannerisms to your posture – be confident. Look directly into the camera lens and sit up straight. If you use your hands a lot when you talk, will they appear in the frame? Check to be sure – if they don’t, you might appear to be fidgeting or nervous.
Sit up straight, speak calmly and confidently. From your home to theirs this is the ideal time to really connect with your audience. Investors are looking for leadership and a calm presence. Experts recommend leaning in just a touch while pushing your shoulders back.
Designate an area for all interviews. What appears in the background? Don’t set up in an area of mess or chaos. The audience doesn’t need to see your kitchen with family members bustling about, nor do they need to see piles of loose papers or books or your lunch dishes.
If you don’t have a home office, find a quiet location in an area that can provide a nice backdrop. Library of books? Great! Blank wall or wall with framed art? Perfect! No matter where you set up, make sure to look around and see what might appear on the screen.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in doing remote interviews from home is other members in a household. Whether it’s a partner, spouse, children or pet, the other members in a house can really throw off an interview!
Who can forget the BBC interview with Professor Robert Kelly when his two children came into the room when he was being interviewed on live TV? While the rest of the world enjoyed the clip – you can take steps to keep it from happening to you.
- Make your home “studio” in an area that is “off-limits.” Ideally, in a separate room with a door that can be locked.
- Put a sign on the door when interviews are in progress.
- If there are others living with you let them know when any interviews are scheduled so they can be sure not to interrupt during those times.
- Have children or pets? If you can, enlist a partner, spouse or roommate to help keep them occupied.
- Have kids but no one to keep them occupied? That might be the perfect time for a favorite show or game.
Preparation is key
Prior to your scheduled interview time, make sure you have all the necessary links and logins. Test the equipment – make sure sound and video are enabled.
Test your video, how will you appear? What is behind you? Clear away any unnecessary items.
Take a look at the angle of the video. If you’re using a laptop adjust the screen so you’re not looking down. Consider using a stand to appear more at eye level.
If it’s the first appearance from your home office, consider enlisting a trusted colleague or PR professional to help you practice. You can test your system and set up on a trial run. Ask for feedback on posture, perception, cadence. Practice speaking making sure you can be heard while not shouting. It’s common for some using computer speakers to “shout” when only a normal voice tone is needed. Practicing beforehand can help you identify any of these issues.
You’re all set – have a great interview! If you’re looking for more tips and tools, we can help – give us a call!
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