How to Be an On-Camera Expert
When you’re looking to build your career on camera it’s important to recognize what topics and skills you excel at so that when you're on camera you can speak with authority. You want viewers to trust what you say and believe that you have the experience to back up what you’re saying and sharing on air. Once you’ve established yourself in a field the next step is how to become an on-camera expert. Keep reading for tips on how to become a regular TV contributor.
Be prepared. One of the reasons I’ve made a successful career as an expert is producers rave that I serve up segments on a “silver platter.” They take pride in knowing that I’ve done the research for the segment, I’ve pulled in multiple products that fit the theme if there are demos involved, I can create an appealing set design, and provide them with all the information for talking points and even the website information. I go above and beyond what’s needed so they and I look good. That silver platter ultimately means I’m prepared.
Know your audience. Before pitching or going on a show watch the program. You’ll learn how the hosts or anchors interact with one another and their guests and get a general tone of the show.
Be Engaging. Most segments will only be about 3-5 minutes, so you’ll need to learn how to be clear and concise while delivering your knowledge in an engaging tone.
Don’t wriggle. In real life, I’m a bit of a fidget, but you wouldn’t know that when you see me on camera. Since I’m a lifestyle expert I need to convey enthusiasm so if I’m standing during a segment I’ll likely talk with my hands and I may move around a bit, but I won’t look like I’m fidgeting. And if I’m sitting, I don’t swivel or bounce in my seat. I recently saw an author sitting at an anchor desk for an interview about his latest book regarding faith and politics and during the entire interview, he swiveled and leaned forward and back in his chair. I was so distracted, I lost interest in the interview.
Don’t be boring. Or too technical or too vague. Find a way to deliver your expertise in an easy-to-understand manner. I work with clients all the time who are smart and knowledgeable but can’t share it in a way that everyone watching will understand.
Watch your words. Nothing sours an interview more than littering your language with multiple “like”(unless you actually use it properly to reference similar qualities or characteristics), “you know”, “umm” and other extras that dumb down what you’re saying and question your expertise no matter how casual the conversation. And obviously, don’t curse unless you’re on certain late-night shows.
Credits. Once you get booked on a show be sure to provide the producer with a brief bio, a small hi-res photo, your website, your title and company name any other pertinent information like where your book is sold, how viewers can buy your product and if you’re an influencer your primary social media handle. This will give a producer choices of how a host or anchor can introduce, credit you on the lower third of the screen and even create an end screen at the end of the segment with more info if there’s more time.
Roll with it. Anything can happen when you’re on live TV. Breaking news or other segments may run long and that could mean your segment is cut short. Right before your segment ask the producer how long you have. This will give you a chance to prioritize what you want to say and when they start wrapping up the segment have a concluding message ready.
And when all goes well and you have a successful segment, be ready for an increase in business.
Alison Deyette is a TV host, brand spokesperson and media training/on-camera coach. She has helped brands, executives, on-air personalities, aspiring hosts, experts and a long list of Fortune 500 companies develop and express their messaging and editorial content for television, web series, social media, corporate video and print publications. As your media trainer and on-camera coach, she’ll help to transform you into a powerful, confident and focused speaker or personality, ready to share your message with the world! She is the regular lifestyle expert for The Kelly Clarkson Show, KTLA Los Angeles, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, Today and regularly works with brands on HSN, QVC and other networks.