There are two types of TV presenters. The smart ones who realise how vulnerable and exposed they are while on camera, and the dumb ones who don’t get it.
Miraculously both seem to get away with it.
The smart ones by managing the situation using their wit and intellect, and the dumb ones by having a good production team.
TV presenters are no different from anyone else. A few have real star quality – and if I knew what that was I’d be much richer – but most are ordinary.
What do they know that you don’t?
1. Preparation is everything.
There are some lazy presenters who turn up late and just leave it to the autocue to tell them what to do. But they are very experienced and are working on rubbish shows where “OK” is good enough, so ignore them.
Everyone else is working really, really hard to look good. A TV script has often been worked on for months. And by quite a few smart people, then re-written by the presenter, and re-re-written by the Exec Producer…
A lot of time and effort has been spent polishing every line. Do you do that when you speak in public? Probably not. But you could, and you certainly could do more, couldn’t you?
2. Never be flustered
If a TV presenter looks visibly flustered they have failed in one of their prime objectives. You never want to let people see the chaos behind the scenes, the skin-of-the-teeth, last-minute dramas. Their job is to look calm even when they can hear the lunatic director screaming in their ear (and they do).
When you speak in public, decide to never look flustered. So if anything goes wrong, remember what you decided and smile.
3. People like lists of 3
It’s a fact. There is good research that we find a three satisfying. A two is not quite enough and a four is well, just too much. So watch the “menu” of any magazine show and there will be three things. Top Gear usually parody this form with an absurd “Tonight Richard looks left, I wear a hat and James meets a man” but the parody works because that’s what you usually get.
So, what can you learn from TV presenters. Keep calm and prepare really well, and oh….. a third thing, but I cant think of it just now.