Recently, I got a great question from a client who is training to be a TV Host. She wanted to know if it is okay to show emotion when you’re interviewing somebody who cries? The answer is yes.
We, as hosts, are not robots. In fact, we’re conduits to our viewers and we represent them. And surely, they’re moved by seeing someone cry so it’s perfectly normal for hosts to be moved as well. In fact, it’s abnormal to not be moved. Think about interviewing someone who lost a loved one, or experienced a personal tragedy. If the viewer sees you conducting business as normal and not displaying sympathy or empathy, they’re going to wonder what’s wrong with you and if you’re even listening. Hard to imagine the viewer liking you or trusting you after that happens.
So, playing it cool is NOT an effective strategy. You should certainly show emotion, and it’s fine to shed a few tears. But these need to be real tears and genuine emotion. Do not fake being emotional to appear sympathetic. That’s also a credibility destroyer; not to mention a pretty crummy thing to do.
I remember shortly after 9/11, I was hosting “Slime Time Live” on Nickelodeon. I read aloud letters kids had written to first responders to express their gratitude. I had no plan or agenda to get emotional, but I started crying right there on national TV. I was invested in the moment and it was my natural reaction in the moment. That’s an experience I will never forget.
So, you see, it’s perfectly fine to be human as a host and to show emotion. Just make sure you keep it together. You still need to run the segment, ask more questions, get to the heart of the issue, then wrap the guest and throw to the next segment or to a commercial.
It’s a delicate balancing act, but if you come from the heart I’m sure your reaction will be appropriate.
If you’d like to work on your on hosting skills, just reach out to me here.
Have a great day!