TV Tips: Nervous Habits

A conversation with a major network this past week really got me to thinking. It’s been a little while since I have tvcamerabeen on TV and when I am, I rely heavily on my improvisation skills, people skills and natural wit. =)

Preparing other people for television appearances is part of my job when my clients are heading for a TV spot, whether it be for a commercial or an interview. And when I look at the industry, I don’t see a lot of information out there that can help prepare people for being on camera. I see a need there–especially when I see Twitter friends like ResourcefulMom (Amy Lupold Bair) post: “I’m getting ready to go on TV! Is there anything that I should know?”

It made me want to laugh. Not at Amy of course. But just because it’s an unusual, but glorious experience for most people. And unless you are on TV a bunch, you will probably get slightly high in the afterglow of it. It’s a bit like being on stage, you see. And most anyone enjoys being center-stage here and there. You won’t get the applause immediately afterward (unless you, for instance, trip on a cord going off set), but people will see you, and if you become a regular you become high risk of being recognized at the grocery store. Which means that you shouldn’t run up to the store in sweats and a ponytail-unless you really, really want to.

Before I digress too much, I must say that there are likely books on this subject that I am not aware of. And if not, one should be written for sure. I certainly cannot post all of my TV Tips in one post. But today I would like you to be aware that most everyone on camera occasionally or for the first time really needs to look at any nervous habits that they brought with them and cut them out.

Common nervous habits on TV, especially when being interviewed, include:

  • Foot bouncing
  • Playing with hair
  • Playing with anything
  • Nose rubbing
  • Picking cuticles or nails
  • Continuous shifting
  • Crossing/Uncrossing of legs
  • Clearing throat
  • Verbal repeats that make you look DUMB like “Um”, “Ya”, “Okay”, “Uh huh”…over and over again

I suggest that before filming, you take a tip from Speech 101 and videotape yourself either making a speech or in a practice interview. Have family and friends be an audience if you want. When you are done, watch it several times and make a note of any weird or nervous actions/speech patterns. Then videotape another segment. The more you watch yourself, the more aware you will become of what your nervous habits are. It is the first step to controlling them when you are filming.

Please help me get rid of any nervous ticks I have by commenting after you watch the video below. Thanks!

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4 thoughts on “TV Tips: Nervous Habits

  1. Hi, nice post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for sharing. I will definitely be coming back to your blog.

  2. Hi, cool post. I have been pondering this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll probably be coming back to your site. Keep up the good posts

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