The “Stare-Down”



By Susan Tomai

The remote or “satellite”-style TV interview presents a unique set of challenges. Rather than looking into the eyes of an interviewer a couple of feet away, the interviewee must stare into the camera lens and hear the questions of the interviewer (who may be 1000 miles away) through an earpiece while delivering the key messages.  To put it mildly, this can be disorienting. So the objective is to maintain steady and confident eye contact with the camera and to tune out all distractions. Pretend you’re Clint Eastwood – the king of eye contact – and there’s a fistful of dollars waiting for you.

The conclusion of the interview can be particularly difficult, since there is an overwhelming temptation to exhale a tremendous sigh of relief, rip off the mike and run. Instead, the interviewee should remain calmly seated in the chair, maintain steady eye contact with the camera, and deliver what Oratorio calls “The Stare-Down.” In other words, after you’ve delivered your final point, just maintain a pleasant expression and look into the camera until the studio producer or videographer tells you are “clear.” Remember, the camera and the microphone are always on – and it’s essential to end the interview on a strong note.


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