Yesterday I was on an episode of Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” to talk about work-life balance, rest and technology.
It was interesting doing a TV show, especially via Skype from my garage office. This is what it looks like behind the scenes:
I have a second screen and the webcam drops down front of it, so i can look at a Skype conversation I can come closer to making eye contact (i.e. staring at the camera not the display); I also had the names of the other participants written on a Post-It and stuck on the screen, as there are few things more embarrassing than forgetting your host’s name!
The studio-grade mic is one I bought a couple years ago, and I’m constantly surprised at how good it sounds.
Finally, I had a pair of earbuds that looped behind my head; I avoid the 1960s NASA mission control look when I can.
Most of the lessons I’ve learned doing radio apply to television appearances, but there are two differences.
First, you’ve gotta be really still. In lots of radio interviews I’m on Skype or my phone, and I can wander around the kitchen as I talk. I’m one of those people who likes to move as they talk or think (embodied cognition in action!), but you don’t have this outlet when you’re on TV. You gotta stand really still.
In fact, next time I’m going to make sure to sit down, because that’ll be easier to sustain for half an hour.
Second, never take your eyes off the camera, even if a wolverine is growling at your ankle. Even a brief look away is noticeable. It’s really striking.
But I’m learning.
“The Stream” is also an interesting show because it’s one of those that incorporates feedback from social media, which meant I had several Twitter exchanges after the show with people.