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Your Media Training Re-Boot: Part 2 of 2

Addressing ‘What if I have to Cough?’ and Another Big Misconception

HedgehogThanks for looking for Part 1 if you missed it.  Part 1 covered organizing your miles of grey matter into compact, compelling TV contributions…disputing the term ‘blindsided’.. and tackling the never-dying ‘smiling question’.  We now march forward together to address : coughing!  as well as another misconception I’d like to dispel. 

Yes- you can cough, clear your throat or even sneeze if you have to!! I once had a wonderful client who sent me a TV interview to watch before we met.  I thought he might have Tourette's Syndrome. Ends up he was at that 'tickle in your throat’ phase of a cold and was sadly misguided by wrong advice.  He spent the majority of a heady, fascinating interview working on suppressing the urge to cough. Who hasn’t been there- whether as a TV guest.. at a concert.. at the theater… ?


  • If you’re afraid of ‘where you are’ in your cold, and think you’ll be worrying about it- consider declining your invitation; you’ll be asked on again.  Just give the producer as much lead time as possible.
  • Assure you can have a liquid in a mug at hand to sip on
  • Momentarily turn your head.. try to remember to cover your mic with your hand.. and share an ‘excuse me’ either before or after your respiratory interruption.  Then resume your comment, or your listening.  Your aplomb with the process will reflect well on your perceived ease in being on TV or radio.  Remember: the camera and mic pick up subtle behaviors.  You’re not fooling anyone, and you know how silly or uncomfortable you may look if you'd try to do so.

"Thanks for having me". I’m not sure who started this game- but this phrase is not a magic password required to start your interview.  For me- it just means you’ve watched someone else do it- and you’ve decided this a rule of comportment. Please think logically: You’re sitting there hearing the intro to your segment.  Your name and profession, or accomplishment is stated.  Then, as we might in a normal conversation, you might say ‘hi [name] , yes,….. [comment on the introduction].. or perhaps ‘it’s good to be here.. and [lob out a short set-up point that piques our interest in your thinking.. and has us settle in to listen to the ‘conversation’ (aka-  the ‘interview’).  My point- there is no rule!  If you do want to thank them.. there’s no magical phrase. Or: how about being ready for the fact that you may not be thanked- and your interviewer will tumble out a pressing question?  Best advice: hang loose and naturally engage in the dialogue.

Same concept holds true for the end: if you’re thanked- no magic code phrase needed here either. Start listening to alternatives on TV or radio.  ‘it’s been a pleasure’.. ‘good to be here’.. ‘thanks for inviting me’.. it’s been great and congratulations on/good luck with… (any reference to a publicly known accomplishment or fact).. thanks for inviting me and I hope everyone will remember that xxx’.  I’d also suggest ‘you bet!’ but when I indicated to a client I was going to honor him by adding his expression to my ‘closure list’ he went ballistic and said you could only carry this off if you were from the mid west! 

This brings your latest virtual bootcamp to a close.

My closing pep talk as I send you, head held high, into the Media Universe: Hang loose.. be yourself.. know your concise wisdom is valued.. and enjoy your ride as you edify us! It is this behavior that will win you a return invitation.  No secret code needed!

Thank You for Reading Part 2

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