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Robert Kelly is an associate professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University. He’s the type of person top news networks call when they need expert commentary on major political events. 

His phone rang in late March 2017 after South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, was arrested on suspicion of bribery and leaking government secrets. It was an international bombshell and likely one of the biggest stories of Kelly’s career. On the day of his BBC interview, he put on a suit, a crisp white shirt and a sharp red tie. Seated at his desk in his home office, he was ready to engage the world except for one small detail – he left the door unlocked.

Kelly affectionately became known as “BBC Dad.” He was thrust into the global spotlight not for his astute take on a geopolitical disaster but rather, an extreme case of Murphy’s Law in media relations when his family burst into his office and stole the show. Most can agree that this was nothing more than a freak occurrence, but make no mistake, this example is very often used in media training sessions.

You’re probably wondering why we’re devoting blog space to Robert Kelly and his family’s story. It has everything to do with the fact that Skype, Zoom, Teams and GoToMeeting have become part of our everyday work life. Broadcast studios were shuttered in March and producers have told us that home office video interviews are here to stay.

Over the past four months, we’ve coached our clients through the art of the video interview and created a helpful checklist. 

Here are our top three tips:

  1. Free up bandwidth. You might have a great Internet connection but like it or not, video is a real bandwidth hog. If too much is happening on your home network at the same time, the video image and sound quality will suffer. It’s best to pause other network activity (e.g. Netflix, online shopping, gaming) until your interview is done to ensure maximum available bandwidth.
  2. What’s that behind you? Although taking first place in a pie-eating contest is an accomplishment to be proud of, the framed award on your wall will certainly be a distraction. The goal is for viewers to focus on you, so keep your background simple and clutter free. Hunt around for a clean, bright wall free of bold patterns and pictures and set up your work space there.
  3. Shine a light. Any videographer will tell you that lighting is critical and getting it wrong can result in unflattering shadows or a pale, washed-out look. Avoid being back lit by a bright window and instead set yourself up facing a window for good, natural light. Partially drawing a curtain will also help reduce light intensity. If it’s a cloudy day, a desk lamp will do the trick.

Want to learn more? Get in touch.

Christopher Wood
Vice President

Rethinking influence
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