When I was due to appear on TV for the first time I needed some advice from my late father who’d worked in television from behind the cameras nearly all his working life. His advice: make sure you have tidy, clean fingernails. I knew also he was very big on keeping shoes clean and polished so I was already ahead of the game there.
However the fingernails comment didn’t seem to be the comprehensive advice I was looking for. But you see for my dad the first impression was everything. And I’ve come to realise that in TV or when you’re meeting someone for the first time, you are judged on that first impression so you have to make it count.
The little things do matter. Your hair, your smile, the way you walk, shake hands, what you wear are all so important.
There’s a warmth you can create and a professional look you can show without even opening your mouth.
So I went on telly later that week and I looked the part. I’d done my fingernails by the way! And I ended up doing 13 years as a presenter and reporter on TV.
But I always remember that lesson whatever I have done in business and in my broadcast training of current presenters and reporters.
Don’t create distractions, be yourself, but look the part and you’re on the road to communicating effectively with your audience.