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TV lessons from a yo-yo “pro”

POSTED BY doug ON May 19, 2010

All of us at PR by the Book got a good chuckle last week when we watched these two videos of Kenny Strasser (aka “K-Strass”) pranking TV stations KQTV and KODE in Missouri, pretending to be a yo-yo champion. What ensues are two of the most uncomfortable (yet comical) TV interviews we’ve ever had to watch!

With these videos serving as examples of what NOT to do, here are three tried and true tips on how to give the best TV interview.

1. What to wear – this may be the only thing Kenny got right. He looked the part! For example, if you’ve written a children’s book, a suit wouldn’t be appropriate. If you’re a high-powered business executive, don’t wear blue jeans. You get the idea. In addition, stick with solid, jewel-tone colored-shirts like shades of blue, red or green. Never wear white since it can wash you out on camera and never wear busy patterns. Here’s an extra tip – a button-up shirt with a collar or a jacket with a lapel lends to easy placement of the microphone. Speaking of microphones – if you talk with your hands, make sure you keep your gestures away from the mic! Those of us at home watching will thank you for it!

2. Be concise – TV interviews only last about 2-3 minutes, so there is no time for random, off-topic rambling a-la Kenny (the yo-yo champ in favor of parents spanking their children?!). Luckily, most of the time your publicist and the show’s producer have discussed talking points ahead of time. Go into the studio armed with these and be prepared to stick to them. If you are there to promote a book singing, the most important piece of information that needs to get across is when and where.

3. Be a competent interviewee – The poor anchors who had to deal with Kenny did their best to stay positive, keep the interviews going and keep Kenny focused despite the many mishaps. That is their job, but as the interviewee, you have a responsibility to be prepared. Practice your talking points ahead of time. If you have yo-yo skills, practice them beforehand for crying out loud and if you mess up – move on! Don’t whisper “what should do!?” frantically to the unsuspecting anchor. And if the anchor stumbles, help him out. Offer a polite correction and then glide right past it into the next point.

Whether you are promoting your fine yo-yo skills or your neighborhood book signing, preparation goes a long way to delivering an effective and memorable TV interview. Thanks for the laughs and good lessons, Kenny!

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