For many different reasons, presenting a live TV segment is harder than it seems. Although the spot usually lasts between 4 to 7 minutes, it can take months to plan and loads of hours to coordinate the entire thing. Whether you’re presenting a fashion segment, as I typically do, or promoting a new product, or an upcoming event, the formula is pretty standard. Keeping your nerves calm, remembering your key messages, and nailing your set-up are just a few things to consider. Quite often, people seek my advice and ask me how to put together and present a tv segment. So for everyone’s benefit, I decided to share my tips on the most important things you need to do before you present a TV segment via a blog post!
If you’re preparing for your first upcoming segment, you may want to keep reading and use this checklist to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.
The 5 most important things you need to do before you present a tv segment
- Have a hook. When you’re pitching an idea to a tv channel, keep your ask brief and punchy. Present them a proposal that is relevant to their audience (keep it local for local tv!), timely (give them enough time to book something and for the audience to react) and have a unique hook (not another XYZ). Pitch an original idea and make it fun, so they can’t resist. Avoid “selling” or “promoting” your business, but rather add value to the show. Here’s what I mean:
- “Hi, I am opening a new sushi restaurant and I would love to be on your show.”
- “Hi, I’m from SUSHI restaurant and I would like to show people how easy it is to make sushi at home using only 5 ingredients.”
What show would you like to watch, if you were the audience? I rest my case!
- Think “visual”. There is something to be said for making TV look interesting. People win awards for this. We don’t know or think about it when we watch TV, but our favourite shows are typically what we find visually or aesthetically pleasing. On live TV, the camera is shooting from far and the bright lights usually wash everything out. This is why I always pay attention to adding colour and interesting textures or details.
- I wear professional makeup and always have bright lipstick and fun hair
- I style my models in clothes that have texture, detail, and colour
- Models should also have nice hair and professional makeup
- I like variation, and try to style unique looks while avoiding repetition (clothing, models or body type… variety is the spice of life!)
- I avoid black— albeit slimming, it looks terrible on TV and lacks detail (think one big blob)
- If I was presenting something small like beauty products, I would make sure that I have bright polish and jewellery because they will zoom on my hands (Shopping channel anyone? They know where it’s at!)
- Key messages. Don’t work on a script… EVER! Prepare, what we folks in Communications call, key messages. These are simple phrases that you can easily remember, that help to describe what your segment is about. The reason you don’t want to memorize a script is because live TV is a conversation where you will be interviewed by the host. The host will ask you questions, and it’s your job to naturally insert your key message in the responses, when and where feasible. Trust in the host, they are the professionals. Here are some examples of key messages for a fictional event “My awesome birthday party”:
- My birthday event is on September 16 at 8:00 p.m.
- It will be held at a cool abandoned warehouse
- We will have lots of fun, dance to fun music and sip on delicious cocktails
- Dress to impress- here are some ideas
- CALL TO ACTION: Buy your tickets at myawesomebday(dot)com before they sell out
In this hypothetical example, I could keep adding more key messages, but in a 5-minute segment, I doubt we would have time to discuss anything more. In addition, closing with a call to action is always a nice touch. And also, I wish this was a real event!
- Be prepared. Like anything, practice makes perfect. When I create my looks, I always write down a short line to help me find my words to describe the look. The exercise of writing it first, helps me remember what to say because the vocabulary stays fresh in my head. That’s how I used to study in school, after all. For the day-of, I always prepare a list and make sure I am not forgetting anything for my models, or for myself (camera, outfit, models outfit, mannequin, props). If you are setting up props, a list or mockup is highly recommended.
- Be mindful of your energy. Some people are introverts, and some are extroverts, like me. I have a long history of performing for audiences because I used to dance and sing as a child, which means I don’t get anxious very easily. But, I always have a bit of nerves to deal with before a segment. Nerves are a good thing. They keep you sharp and alert (fight or flight baby!). You just don’t want them to take over. Nobody likes having a frog in his or her throat, a shaky voice or draw a blank. Don’t stare into the camera if you’re nervous, just look at the host and have a conversation with them. When it comes to performance, I don’t usually eat before an early morning segment because I have good energy levels in the morning. But I have noticed, that if I am filming in the afternoon, I need a good meal to fuel my brain. If you’re a hand talker, like me, be mindful of how much you wave your arms around, it can look a little crazy on TV! Cross your legs and have your arms rest on your legs in necessary.
My intent with this post is not to create fear because there is a silver lining. Just like anything in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it. The more segments I prepare, the smoother I perform. I always love learning from my past work and try to improve where I can… because there is always room for improvement!
I hope this post was helpful. If you have any questions or if you will present a TV segment soon, please ask them in the comments below, and I will be sure to respond!
Break a leg!
Photo credit Kamara Morozuk www.kamaramorozuk.com