Skype Interview Etiquette

Even the highest profile media outlets have taken to holding interviews via online video services such as Skype. The quality isn’t the best, but from the broadcasters’ point of view, it is far cheaper than renting a studio for your appearance. Plus, it offers flexibility of delivering news from more remote locales. The Skype phenomenon means a new ballgame for news sources asked to participate in this type of remote exchange. While there are similarities between Skype and satellite media interviews, new twists exist, too. Bear these points in mind when you’re on the receiving end of a news interview held remotely on Skype:

Skype scrabble

  1. Practice—a lot. Skype’s newness on the news interview scene means that even long-time media sources have relatively little experience here. This mandates a few more simulated interviews before you undertake the real thing.
  2. Look into the camera of your PC or mobile device. Some Skype interviewees tend to look at their monitor instead of the camera. Know where your camera lens is, and keep your eye contact locked there. This is one of the very few times you should look directly into the camera.
  3. Assume you are always on camera. You will likely have no way of knowing what is being broadcast at the moment, so avoid any embarrassing acts (yawning, scratching, cleaning your teeth, or worse).
  4. Stage your backdrop. Decide on a proper background. Something with your company logo or product or your book is fine, for example.
  5. Heed your lighting. Be sure you are adequately lit from a source in front of you. This allows you to be seen on TV and avoids plaguing your viewers with background glare.
  6. Keep the background noise down. While the microphone on your PC or mobile device isn’t the best, it is still quite capable of picking up distracting sounds.
  7. Prepare for conversational delays. Connections are not always rock solid, so realize that you may have to wait a beat or two before hearing the next question.

Your turn. If you’ve participated in a Skype media interview, what advice do you have to impart?



  1. Thanks for your thoughts, Aimee. Good points about wardrobe and the always looming technical gremlins.

  2. Be as natural as possible – you get better as you’ve done it more often.
    Be prepared for technical glitches
    Dress as you would for the office
    I find Skype interviews often get cut short for various reasons – if you Skype the first interview then suggest the second one be a conference call. The reporter has already seen you and knows what you look like.

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