So, you’ve been invited into the TV studio. Your TV audience is ready to hear from your experience or expertise. So you’ll have asked all the right questions to prepare fully and consdered what you want to say. And if you’re like most people, you will give some thought to what to wear on TV. Because, like it or not, your appearance is one part of your executive presence. And the neuroscience of first impressions tells us that your audience will judge you on your appearance. Before they decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.
This is where it’s really best for you to keep it simple. Because you want your viewers focussing on what you say, not on your clothes. If you’re wearing something distracting, then that’s all your viewers will remember. What you wear on TV should make you feel comfortable. It’s probably not a great idea to rush out and buy a brand new outfit especially for your camera appearance! You’ll feel more relaxed if you know that everything fits and sits properly. If your shoes hurt or if your jacket is too tight – then your discomfort will come across, and that might end up affecting your performance.
So how do you avoid ending up on the cutting room floor? Here are some clothes to avoid when appearing on camera:
1. Small, complex patterns can strobe on camera. Avoid thin stripes, herringbones and polka dots. For men, avoid shirts with a thin stripe or ties with a small pattern.
2. Avoid shiny fabrics that reflect light back into the camera.
3. For the ladies – jewellery that rattles and clinks can be distracting for the viewer as your clip-on microphone will pick up those sounds.
4. For a media interview avoid emblems, logos and badges on your clothing, unless it’s your company uniform. Your interviewer may ask you to remove them or cover them up.
5. If you’re appearing against a green screen, then green clothing will blend into the background. If you’re headed for the TV studio and you’re not sure of the setup, avoid green jackets, shorts and blouses.
Here are some suggestions for what to wear on TV:
1. Wear natural fabrics like cotton in studio. Studio lights can be hot, and you’ll be more relaxed if you’re not feeling overheated.
2. If you’re wearing trousers, wear socks that reach over your calf, so that your skin doesn’t show when you cross your legs when seated.
3. Solid block colours are always a safe bet – pastels, bright colours, blue and dark blue work well.
4. If you have long hair, tying it back will keep it off your face and avoid shadows.
5. Last of all – make-up keeps off glare, even for men 😊 Even if don’t normally wear make-up, it’s a good idea to bring some powder with you. You can’t assume that a make-up artist will be available in the TV studio, so bring your own.
And if you’re not headed for the TV studio, very often your interviewer will want to speak with you on location. Maybe they’ll want to see you on the factory floor, or outside your place of work. Well, please don’t forget to dress for the weather. You’ll often spend a lot longer standing around waiting that you anticipated, and your interview will be a lot more natural if you’re not soaked through or frozen with the cold!
And when you’ve done all that, remember to relax and smile! Not only will it help you to build rapport with your viewers, but research shows that smiling during brief periods of stress can help you to feel less stressed out (1). That’s got to be a win-win for your next appearance on camera!
(1) Kraft & Pressman (2012) Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Journal of Psychological Science
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