Over the past few days, I've had a number of potential clients suggest doing the media training without on-camera interviews. No need for the camera, they say. I couldn't disagree more.

Why do we strongly recommend using a camera in our training sessions? Because when it comes to delivering the organization’s message, the message itself is just a relatively small component of the communication. The total package – body language, facial expression, voice inflections and the tone and power of the voice all interact. The best way to expose a spokesperson to the areas that can be improved is by getting them to see and/or hear for themselves.
A researcher at the University of California Los Angeles discovered that in situations in which our body language conflicts with our words, body language and tone of voice are far more important than what is being said. In fact, 55 percent of a message's impact is carried by nonverbal (body language, appearance, personal space) and 38 percent is verbal (volume, pitch and pace), leaving just seven percent to message content.
How does this play out in the real world? A great example was one gentleman I trained who had a tendency to close his facial expression -- furrow his eyebrows and scowl -- whenever he concentrated. So it didn't matter WHAT he was trying to communicate because his facial expression tainted everything. We worked on it and made him comfortable starting with a smile, which then carried through his entire interview.
By using videotaped realistic interview scenarios, we are able to address the following areas:
Body Language
  • Stand and sit up straight
  • Hands at your sides
  • Open, welcoming facial expression
  • Make and maintain eye contact
  • Try not to tilt your head. Be a confident, straight shooter
  • Assume an open posture by unbuttoning your coat, uncrossing your legs, sitting forward in your chair and moving closer to the interviewer. 


  • Use inflection in your voice; don't talk in monotone
  • Speak slowly so the audience can understand
  • Breathe
  • Use pauses to indicate what you think is important
  • If you’re being interviewed over the telephone, stand up. This will improve your breathing and will make you sound animated and alert
  • Be enthusiastic and animated. Speak in a conversational manner just as you would to someone in a business meeting 

Without recorded interviews, a person might not realize just how often he/she says “like” or “you know.” They might not be aware that they have trouble making eye contact and how their darting eyes make them look shifty. And they can’t truly experience what it’s like to have the glare of the camera focused directly on them.

Bottom line: participants in our training have consistently told us that the on-camera interviews are the most valuable aspect of the training, so we would not recommend doing the training without the camera.