Covid Media Advice - Important media interview advice for Zoom conferences

14 April 2020

Many skills that are vital for media interviews are just as important for Zoom conferences. The first of these is around body language. In the first blog in this Covid series, I focused on setting up your computer and background for maximum benefit for TV interviews and other platforms like Zoom. That’s important, but if your body language isn’t right, it won’t make any difference.


There’s some myth that says you shouldn’t move your hands when talking on camera. This is as wrong for Zoom as it is for television or live speaking. Viewers need to see movement and enthusiasm on their screen, otherwise they will tune out. In fact, because there are so many distractions when people are watching on a computer, it’s even more necessary.

Tone of voice

You may be surprised to learn that if you don’t gesture with your hands, your voice will become monotone. This makes it difficult for viewers to maintain interest and remember what you said. If you dispute this, keep it in mind when watching others on Zoom or during television interviews.

Your message or conference aim

In a media interview or live presentation you need to break down what you want to get across to about three key points and make those the entire focus. A major reason for this is that the more you say, the less people remember. While audio conferences are a bit different, the same principles apply. The key here is to have an aim for the conference and only include agenda items that will help achieve that aim. If they don’t, leave them out.

Using PowerPoint in audio conference

If you are giving a presentation in your audio conference with PowerPoint, please avoid using bullet point after bullet point after bullet point. This is common but so-called ‘date dumps’ never work online or offline. Focus on a limited number of points and use stories to back them up. You can use pictures and videos to help as well. This is what people remember. Feel free to send notes to your viewers later with all the details.

Final thoughts

Always think about one of my favourite quotes when preparing for a Zoom, whether you are the leader, or someone who will contribute to the conference. “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw. In other words, it’s only communication if people take it, remember it and act on it.

If you’d like to master the media interview process ( and other communication like Zoom) from your own home during the lockdown, check out our heavily reduced online Media Training Academy at this link.

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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