As part of my real job, I help coordinate a monthly television show for Mississippi State’s Bagley College of Engineering. My part usually involves scheduling guests based on what’s going on within the college and coordinating with the folks at the MSU Television Center.
But when our usual host was out of the country for the month of July teaching a study abroad class, I had to fill in as the host.
As I wrote on Instagram after the show taped, I don’t think I was overly terrible. Just garden-variety terrible. There is a big difference between being interviewed and being the person doing the interviewing, especially when “live” television is involved.
When you are being interviewed, you just have to be knowledgeable about what you’re discussing. It helps to know how to do things like reframe questions or how to make sure you hit your talking points, but, by and large, if you’re being interviewed about [subject] and you are fairly conversant about [subject], you’re probably going to do o.k. Here’s an example where I was being interviewed about a power outage. I’m not remotely an expert on power outages, but I knew enough to speak coherently about them.
When you are doing the interviewing, you have to be somewhat knowledgeable about [subject] so that you can ask good questions. But, in a good interview, you also have to listen to what the person is saying in response to your questions so that the interview comes across as conversational. You also have to keep track of the questions you haven’t asked yet. All while keeping tabs on how much time is left in the segment so that you can stretch to fill the allotted time if necessary.
Case in point, with my second guest, I had asked all of my questions before the floor manager had even give me the “two-minute warning” signal. It was a bit of a tap dance to fill that time, but we pulled it off somehow.
At any rate, I hosted a TV show. And here it is.