In 2009, Oprah championed a little-known communications technology called Skype, which has quickly become a ubiquitous term used to describe video conferencing. At Greenough, we have recently seen an uptick in requests for Skype, Google Hangout or Facetime interviews from journalists.

There are many benefits to conducting an interview via video conference. Journalists are able to make a more visual and compelling story while clients are able to reach new markets and add value through visual branding. Plus, without the need for bulky equipment and additional hands, clients can quickly and easily convey their stories to a broad media audience.

With those benefits in mind, we’ve compiled a few guidelines for ensuring that your Skype interview goes smoothly and is captured in the best light.

1.       Make sure you have a healthy Wifi signal. Video conferencing takes a lot of bandwidth. Therefore, it’s important to have a strong Internet connection so that there is no delay and the image is seamless.

2.       Double check that you have the reporter’s contact information. You may need to add the reporter’s Skype username or add him/her to your Google Plus circle before being able to make contact.

3.       Look professional. Just like you would for an in-person interview, make sure you look polished. Brush your hair, add a little makeup, and wear crisp, clean clothing. Wearing company branded items can be a great way to keep the brand in the story.

4.       Avoid the whistle-blower look. Make sure the room is bright and that the light sources are placed in front of your face. Don’t sit with your back to a window unless you want to appear in silhouette.

5.       Stage the background. It’s important to have the least amount of distractions behind you. Try to set up a space with minimal clutter in the background. Move things if you need to! Or, try to position yourself in front of a company logo or product display.

6.       Set the shot. Cue up the camera so that you know what you look like. Are you too close? Too far away? Make sure your body is in good balance to the proportion of the screen and that it is comfortable for you. We recommend stacking books under your laptop to reduce neck and nostril exposure.

7.       Use props, if possible. Reporters love a visual that can help clarify difficult of confusing concepts.

8.       Don’t let your eyes wander. Although it can be awkward, it’s important to focus on the camera whenever possible. Try to avoid looking at yourself on the monitor as your eyes will not be in the right place. Avoid looking around the room too as it may make you look unprepared.

9.       Exude confidence. Posture is the key. Make sure you are sitting up straight and continue sitting up straight throughout the interview. This will also help with making your voice sound clear and confident.

10.   Eliminate distractions. Notifications tend to rule our lives, so it’s important to place your cell phone on silent and set it face down on the desk, and to close out of your email program on your computer. It’s also good practice to let your colleagues know that you will be doing an interview and not to bother you during that time – a sign on the conference room or office door might help.

11.   Practice it first. Hopefully you have done your research and you have key talking points to reference. Make sure to practice speaking what you are going to say aloud because you want to have those messages ready to go when the question is asked.  

Christine Williamson is Account Director for Media Relations at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter: @ChristineDBW