- Some nervous tension is good. A lot is bad. Remember the advice seasoned speakers sometimes give to help you relax? Picture your audience wearing underwear. Don’t. It’s distracting. I take a few deep breaths. Sipping water may help, too.
- Maintain good posture. Hank Phillippi Ryan, WHDH-TV investigative reporter and fiction writer, suggests imagining strings hanging down from the ceiling holding up your head and shoulders.
- Prepare. Write thirty- and sixty-second summaries of your book and practice them aloud. Commit them to memory. A catch phrase describing the essence of your book can be handy. Or try a mnemonic device. I bring a small purple Christmas tree when promoting my novel Purple Trees, even though it has nothing to do with Christmas nor trees. Don’t forget to have several points ready to describe who you are as a writer.
- Remember to say the name of your book a few times. There’s nothing worse than a viewer turning off the TV and wondering: What book was she talking about?
- Watch recordings of the show and note what the host is wearing. Let that guide your choice of clothing. Don’t neglect your shoes, as sometimes the cameras will capture your full body.
- Try to avoid gesturing with your hands as it can come off poorly on camera. An occasional gesture is fine, but I tend to overuse my hands when I’m nervous. I practice speaking without gesturing, and as a last resort, I actually sit on my hands.
- Avoid making noises while you’re thinking of answers to questions. Ban words such as ah, um, oh from your vocabulary. It’s okay to pause for a second while you get your thoughts together. People might actually think you’re about to say something profound. If you find it hard eliminating these words from your everyday vocabulary, try enlisting the help of a friend, or someone at home.
- Smile. You may be in a little pain, but no one has to know.
- Choose your words carefully. Be gracious and kind. Remember that some tapings are not edited.
Finally, chances are your local cable TV station would love hearing about your book. Give them a call and offer a suggestion for a show. They can always say no, and they might even say yes!
Watch my interview on The Current Buzz here!