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Media Training 101: When Things Go Wrong on Video


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Be honest. Is the reason you’re not “going live” because you think something will go wrong? Well, I’ll share a secret with you…

Something will go wrong.

Not all the time. But chances are, if you shoot enough video or appear on enough television shows as a guest, at some point, something will go wrong.

It even happens to me! Yep – it happened on my show Inside Scoop and while I was producing for network television.

Here are four types of things that can go wrong and how to handle them.


1) Uninvited Guests.

Interruptions happen. (Especially now that you can be a guest on television from the comfort of your own home.)

I did a segment on Inside Scoop with the wonderful book coach, Suzanne Kingsbury. And while we were talking all about the inner critic and how it can keep you from doing your best work, her dog Enzo made a guest appearance on the show.



This is not a good scenario. But we had to just go with it. If an animal, baby, spouse, roommate etc. interrupts your live-stream, do your best not to panic.

Acknowledge what’s happening. We heard the dog barking, so I mentioned it. When something is very obvious like that, you might as well address it.

Then do what you can to save the moment. I gave Suzanne the opportunity to deal with Enzo (her dog), muted her mic, and put myself up full screen until she was settled.

These are easy steps in theory, but they are more stressful in the moment. Many experts I work with take improv classes because they really help you think on your feet.



2) Technology Fails.

We all know Wi-Fi is not as reliable as we’d like.

Make sure to test everything beforehand. Restart your computer. Do everything you should before going live or appearing as a guest every. single. time.  

I do this before every live show. I make sure I’m hardwired. I restart my computer. I make sure my microphone works. And that my camera works. And even after all that, sometimes things go wrong.

I had Tara Singh Carlson, editor of the book, “Where the Crawdads Sing”, on Inside Scoop.

And all of a sudden my camera gave out. I did everything that I usually do, but in the middle of the show my camera stopped. It just didn’t work.

Thankfully, she was able to answer some questions, so I could stay behind the scenes, but you need to think through your plan for when something like that happens.

Because the last thing you want to do is panic on camera and have people see (or hear that). Having a plan will help you remain composed during a technical glitch.

3) Tough Questions.

When appearing as an expert, you want to prepare your talking points ahead of time. But sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, the interviewer throws you a question you don’t know the answer to…or one that you shouldn’t answer.

If you don’t know the answer, don’t say, “I don’t know.” Instead pivot to what you do know or can address.

One of the best examples of how to handle this type of challenge is when Tiger Woods was in a car accident.

Someone at the press conference asked, “Can you explain to us Tiger Woods’s pain threshold at the time? Was he in shock? Was he in tears? Was he in excruciating pain? How would you describe his reaction to those who first got to him?”

When asked this question, the LA Police Chief was on the podium. And he knew he couldn’t answer it. This is personal information. So he laughed, stepped aside, and gave the question to the LA Fire Chief. And this is how the fire chief handled it.

Daryl Osby, Fire Chief Los Angeles, County Fire Department handled that like a pro. See what he did? He addressed the question and said, “I actually can’t tell you that”.

And then he pivoted to what he could speak about.

This will make the interviewer move on to something else as well. So if this happens to you, address the fact that you can’t answer it and pivot to what you can speak about.



4) Last-Minute Cancellations.

There are two kinds of last-minute cancellations: guest-cancellations and host-cancellations.

If you’re a guest on someone else’s show and they cancel your segment, handle it with grace. Of course, it’s disappointing to be canceled on, but don’t make a big deal out of it. The experts who handle this well are the ones who actually get asked back because they proved they are easy to work with.

And then use your time wisely. If your hair and makeup are already done, go out to a really great lunch, make a couple of videos and put them on social media.

Hopefully you’ll be asked back, but not every segment gets rebooked. But don’t get discouraged. You can always pitch again.

You should also have a plan if it’s your show and your guest cancels on you.

Can somebody else jump in? Can somebody else talk about this? Can I talk about it myself? Can I make this a shorter version and say so and so couldn’t make it today? Or does it make sense to just cancel and reschedule?

You will likely have to make that call very quickly. So I like to think through those scenarios beforehand so I know what to do if it happens.

One way to cut down on the likelihood of that happening is to check and reconfirm with the guest the day before. Ali, my producer, always reconfirms with our guests the week of the show. We send them promotional materials the week of, to remind them when to arrive and when the show will air.

Check out the entire episode of Inside Scoop about what to do when things go wrong on video. Have a book coming out? Or want to produce more video? If you’re interested in seeing if 1:1 media training is for you, fill out this form to see if it’s a fit.

BONUS FREEBIE: Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to grab my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”

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