February 13, 2013 by Colin Kelly
Much of my work involves helping people give better performances when they’re being interviewed on television. There’s a lot you can do to prepare for interviews in terms of anticipating what you’re going to be asked and developing engaging, straightforward answers, ensuring you keep control and say what you want to.
But because it’s a visual medium it’s inevitable that you’ll want to look as good as you can. And smart people don’t just accept ‘this is me, take it or leave it.’ Smart people, without becoming vain and insecure about it all, know how to make the best of what they’ve got.
There are a few simple steps you can take and these apply particularly to men, since looking good is something they probably think about less compared with women.
1) Be as fit as you possibly can. We could all do with losing a few pounds. Imagine you did, straight away people will tell you how good you look. This will also boost your confidence and improve your quality of life (and maybe even extend it).
2) Stop drinking and stop smoking You’ll look better and feel sharper the sooner you knock this on the head.
3) Get at least a scale and polish on your teeth. You don’t need the full on whitening procedure, which is expensive. But if you’ve got yellow stains or chips you’ll look better if you deal with them. It sounds shallow but it instantly boosts your credibility. People will see you on television and instead of being drawn to these fairly small flaws they’ll concentrate on what you say. You’ll appear more on top of things, more confident, and more trustworthy. It all sounds very shallow but it’s true.
4) Wear a fitted suit Next time you buy a suit go somewhere and get properly measured. Take the alterations if they’re needed. Everyone looks better in clothes that fit them properly. You don’t know what suits you best. The guy in Slaters or M+S does. He’s an expert. So use him and trust him.
5) Wear better shoes These might not even be seen on camera but the person asking the questions won’t be able to miss them. Tired, dirty, scuffed shoes sends out a signal that you don’t care. And that’s a sign of weakness. A sign that you’re too busy to care. And probably too busy to prepare for the interview. That gives the interviewer more confidence and without you even knowing, puts you at a disadvantage. So keep one pair good for TV appearances and make sure they’re brilliantly polished.
6) Practice, practice, practice This is probably the most important piece of advice. Tmore comortable you feel, the more comfortable you’ll look. So get as much experience as you can. Will they let you sit in the seat before the interview so you can decide what feels most natural to you? Could a friend film you talking at home so you can eliminate that strange thing you do with your gums at the start of every answer? Chances are you’ll be your own harshest critic so simply watching yourself back in a safe environment will give you several areas to improve and you’ll get the issues resolved before you ‘go live’. The people who give the best performances are those that leave nothing to chance.
7) Hair This is critical and as someone with bad hair I very much relate to it. But there’s a choice you have to make. The cheap haircut or the expensive one? Sitting in the seat asking for ‘the usual’ or going somewhere better and asking what suits you? Make the effort, invest in your appearance and enjoy the benefits.
8) Make up If you’re at a TV studio and you’re offered make up from a make up artist always, always accept it. These people are experts and understand what effect studio lights will have on your skin. Everyone else will have make up on so if you don’t you’re going to look worse than them. Again, it shouldn’t matter but it has the effect of lowering your credibility, throwing away your power and distracting the audience from the messages you’re trying to get across.
9) Shave Think the camera won’t pick up that stubble? It will and it’ll even exaggerate it making you look scruffy and undermining everything else. So take the time, and shave. Properly. Like your Dad taught you.