90210 Article 3.24.2022 V2
Years back, a producer friend of mine, hosted her own talk show. She asked me to take over her show as she was moving out of the area and onto other projects. I was thrilled to continue the mission, so I accepted.
Honestly, I didn’t have a clue or a journalism background, I knew very little about pursuing an interview and at the time, I had been all about the creative process and pursuing my own endeavors, but hosting a talk show was intriguing to say the least. I was determined to figure it out.
I outlined my own crash course on studying the application to hosting a tv talk show and interviewing guests. I ended up copying questions that sounded entertaining. I took on a season of interviews by Spring 2020. The interviewing process constantly felt as if I was performing. I didn’t really love it. It wasn’t journalism. It wasn’t reporting. What was I doing? I still did not have a clue as to what I was doing.
It wasn’t until we were weeks deep into COVID, when the entire world was getting to know each other through Zoom links. There were some “Ah-ha moments” among the conversations I participated in. I picked up on distinct social patterns. “Getting to know people” is what it came down to… Could this be my foundation for a great interview? Everyone intuitively has these developed social skills on how to get to know one another. We do it on first dates, job interviews, you get the idea. It’s not different interviewing a guest on a talk show. The key to having great success in a professional interview is quite similar.
Our human nature is to connect. We are tribal. We like finding characteristics that are similar, elements we can relate to. We want to understand one another’s “purpose”. What people do what they do. What makes them distinctive? What makes them different from us (or me). The ultimate pursuit is the emotional connection.
Think of the last movie or series you watched. Great characters get us invested in the story. Characters we understand and connect to tell the story. They create the emotional connection that binds the memory of the actions. If the characters aren’t strong, then the whole story could just default into an abyss.
In my old process of being a host, I often struggled. I thought I had to keep the viewers’ attention. That struggle was in my head. So unnecessary. In my approach now, I often do some research as to what the latest endeavor is or was with my guests and then let the guest(s) tell the story of their goals, dreams, purpose, motivation. I let them indulge in topics of ultimate desire and secret tips to keep the carrot in front, if they are brave enough to get candid with me. My questions usually pop up naturally in my guests’ storytelling process. It’s my natural curiosity, and I try not to navigate the conversation in any way. Finally, I like to distinguish them to understand the individual person. If you can stay focused on these few elements of a person through a little research and curiosity, then you’ll find the job of a talk show or podcast host to be quite an amazing adventure.