Eye Contact For Media Interviews: Where Should I Look?

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on July 24, 2012 – 6:06 AM

Eye contact shouldn’t be that complicated, right?

For media interviews, it can be. If you look in the wrong place, you’ll look uneasy or nervous at best – and some people in the audience may take your lack of eye contact as evasiveness, defensiveness, or worse.

In this video, I’ll teach you where to look for the three most common types of television interviews: "on set" interviews, sound bite interviews, and straight-to-camera (or "remote") interviews.

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Comments (2)

  1. By James:

    Good piece. I think the greater tendency to look into the camera during the sound bite interview is from the layperson, event witness or nonprofessional without the media experience. I find it amusing during newscasts when this happens, because reporters I know all instruct their subjects where to look.

    Your piece also reminds me of how much I HATE the technique being used in commercial pitches that varies from a straight on, into-the-camera pitch by a pitchman or endorser to a shot LIKE a sound bite interview: from the side or at an agle, showing the person still talking as if into a camera straight ahead, sometimes showing the “set” – a boom mic or scrim/backdrop in the shot. Sam Waterston in a series of ads for an investment firm comes to mind. A local TV station has one of their main anchors doing the same in one of their promos running right now. Someone must have thought it looked “artsy” and inspired a bunchof copycats, but it’s distracting to have a pitchman suddenly talking elsewhere. Ask my son how often I yell at the TV, “Hey! I’m over here!” (It’s an inside joke we have about these ads.)

  2. By Brad Phillips:

    James,

    Thanks for the comment and the great story about you and your son. I know exactly which series of Sam Waterston ads you’re referring to – and you’re right that it’s artsy for art’s sake, not for the audience’s sake.

    Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.
    Brad

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