TIPS FOR ALWAYS BEING PREPARED FOR ON AIR GUEST APPEARANCES:
1)ALWAYS BE CAMERA READY: Before you arrive at the studio your face should be made up and hair styled …makeup and hair experts at the studio will usually touch you up before you go on the air. Never assume there will definitely be a makeup artist or hair stylist at the studio. Even if requested, they sometimes do not show up. Always keep an extra set of on camera clothing and accessories in your car or in your office for last minute appearances and then when worn on air, keep track of when and rotate in other changes of clothes. You will not always have advance notice of an appearance.
2) KNOW IN ADVANCE THE ANSWERS YOU WILL GIVE FOR ANY QUESTION YOU ARE ASKED. You should prepare about 3 or 4 talking points or answers for the topic. No matter what the anchor asks you, stick with the prepared answers. Acknowledge the question, but quickly divert attention to your own answers by saying one of the numerous “bridge” responses, such as, “ first let me say”, and then give your prepared answer.
3)FIND OUT WHO THE OTHER GUESTS (IF ANY) WILL BE IN YOUR SEGMENT…Do some background research on them so you know who they are and if possible, view some of their on air clips so you know how they respond on air, if they are aggressive, if they use up a lot of air time with their answers, if they tend to interrupt other guests, etc.
4)BE AWARE OF HOW MUCH TIME YOU WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE FOR THE SEGMENT. If the segment is “hitting” near the end of the show, it is likely that the segment will be shorter than expected because the segments prior to yours may have run long. Be sure to get your best points in first.
5)ALWAYS PLAN TO ARRIVE AT THE STUDIO AT LEAST 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED AIR TIME. There are several reasons for this: you could run into unforeseen traffic, flat tire, etc, the hit time of your segment may have moved earlier up in the show rundown, the topic may be changed last minute and so you need time to prepare new talking points and most of all be relaxed. If you arrive with only seconds to spare before your on camera appearance, the anxiety and stress will show in your face on air. If you are using the network car service, ask to be picked up in time to allow for the above.
6)ASK FOR AN AUDIO OR SOUND CHECK BEFORE YOU GO ON AIR. This way if there is any feedback you are hearing through your ear piece or if the audio is not working, the audio person can correct it.
7) BE FLEXIBLE AND GRACIOUS. Due to the nature of LIVE television, there will be times that you segment will be cancelled at the last minute, even if you are sitting in the chair with seconds to go before your appearance. Never complain or show annoyance. Say, no problem at all. If you are belligerent or high maintenance, you will most likely not be invited back!