I never wanted to portray myself on TV as a reporter shaped in the mold of a game show host or a character from the movie Anchorman. My goal was to deliver news in a conversational yet professional manner indicating I had more than a clue about the topic.
But my casual delivery now and then indicated, often wrongly, I was less than interested. That’s an actual possibility considering how often journalists cover the same story repeatedly. However I did not intend to appear bored.
It is hard to fully explain, but I’ve always contended that by the time a TV station relays your image to someone’s 60-inch screen at home, the transmission somehow dumbs down your delivery a notch or two. My technical theory could be faulty, but I more than once saw myself on TV apparently delivering the news with much less zip than I thought I had.
My theory is mostly irrelevant. The important part is remembering to pump up the volume. I recently watched an obviously well-versed doctor during media training. Before her mock interviews in front of the camera, she spoke with passion at a large conference table while discussing healthcare with the other participants. But when she spoke in front of the camera during a practice interview, she left behind some of that spunk.
Another theory I consider more practical is we sometimes without knowing it become more reserved when our environment turns even slightly less comfortable. I imagine the doctor is more in her comfort zone talking to colleagues in a group setting than holding a one on one discussion with a media trainer under hot lights.
One of our clients earlier this year gave numerous, energetic interviews during the same day. However I noticed his delivery appeared slightly less energetic during a live, remote newsroom interview with an anchor. Those types of interviews in a bustling newsroom while answering questions from someone you can not see are awkward.
I often tried to solve this conundrum by pushing my energy up a notch or two above normal. Don’t yell. But give your sentences some oomph. This initially may feel uncomfortable. You may feel like you’re rising too close to an Anchorman goofball. However I often found, after watching myself on TV, the extra boost of energy translated into a nice, confident delivery on air.
Of course, another theory is some people are simply boring. The problem is the media often doesn’t invite those experts back.