Last week I was interviewed on a local TV show called Brian Lehrer Live. The subject of the interview was some of my views on the free economy. I haven't done any TV in quite a while, and while I wasn't that nervous, I was worried about how I was going to come off. Would I be any good at it.
Hank Williams on the Economics of 'Free' from Brian Lehrer on Vimeo.
I have done a fair bit of television as compared to the average person. That's not to say I have done a lot, but enough that I have done a bit of media training and such. That said, I have not done it in quite some time, and so, while not being particularly nervous, before my appearance I was concerned. Will I look nervous -- or just goofy? Will I be able to get my points out? Will I forget something important? (This happens a lot.)
Before I went to the studio, I had mapped out what I wanted to say. What are the key messages. This is standard media training. Its why listening to politicians can be so frustrating. When they are not smooth, every answer is a message point, regardless of whether it does answer the question. Of course I never want to do that, but trying hard to stay on message without going too far is a good thing.
So I am sitting in the green room and Marty, the producer, comes out to chat with me. We talk about some of the issues, and his concern is that the conversation stay at a level where regular folks can understand it. Examples are critical.
Uh oh. Regular folks. I hadnt considered them. Game change!
So there I am sitting in the green room like the quarterback has called an audible and I didn't read the playbook. What are my examples!
I reformulated my plan. I thought of some examples. I would try to stick to some concrete concepts. I was as ready as I was going to be.
Then I did the interview.
The problem with interviews is that there is this other person in the room getting in the way of what you want to say. You actually have to talk to them! Brian was actually great, but for me, responding to questions in a manner that is both responsive and on message is *hard*. I need more practice. Perhaps I had too much of an agenda to fit into one TV segment. But coming out of the studio I did feel a bit like I didn't say everything I wanted to say.
That said, it still felt pretty good. When the interview was done, I felt comfortable. But I was still not sure how I did. How you feel in your own skin is very different from how you may look to others watching you.
So since the show is live, I had recorded it and was able to watch it when I went home. My first concern was not anything about content. I was really worried I would just look like a goof. TV and photographs can either be kind, or not so kind. Thankfully, in that regard, things were, by my standards OK. And while I didnt say everything I wanted to say, it didnt seem like I wasted too much time. So all-in-all I was satisfied. Of course practice makes perfect and I hope to do more. But having not been on TV in seven or so years, not too bad.