Interviewing and presenting

Outstanding learning doesn’t have to take place in a classroom; in fact, learning is possibly most potent and memorable when it doesn’t take place inside the bricks and mortar of the school.

This was certainly the case when Amy and Ella had a short workshop with TV and Radio presenter Adrian Chiles on coping with nerves, tips when presenting, and much more. Not only was this an exciting (and very entertaining) experience for the girls, it took place on a rowing boat out on a Severn Trent reservoir.

Amy and Ella get to speak quite a lot in public these days; they take it in their stride and really enjoy it. But, it isn’t easy and they are keen to learn how to improve and become more proficient.

Interviewing one the top-flight presenters on his work, the skills required and seeing the process of recording a pre-recorded piece for a live radio show couldn’t be more real. In taking place on a rowing boat on a reservoir, with Adrian Chiles rowing the boat, however, it was all  more than a little bit surreal!

So, what did Amy and Ella learn about TV and Radio presenting from this authentically surreal learning experience?

Lessons learned:

  • Being interviewed on a stage in front of crowd is not easy – the crowd and the interview are somewhere in the region of 45 degrees to each other. Therefore, in order to keep both the audience and interviewer included and interested, it is important to flick your eye contact between the two.
  • Radio and TV are both very different kinds of media, so how does a presenter recover for a slip or a mistake – should they ever make one?

    Radio is, in some respects, more demanding than TV. The shows are usually longer (2 or 3 hours) and only the medium of sound is used to communicate the content. The presenter has to work very hard – thinking on their feet – and this can be very demanding. Recovering from mistakes can be easier though. Radio usually moves on through the topics being covered, at quite a pace, so the presenter can remedy a mistake or simply just forget about it and move on.

    TV exposes more of the presenter and therefore can make them feel more vulnerable – they are both seen and heard. Recovering from a mistake can be harder, too – the presenter might have to wait until the next show ( a week later) before having a chance to make amends.

  • It was reassuring to hear from a seasoned professional, like Adrian Chiles,  that mistakes do happen. In fact, Kerry and I often talk to the girls about mistake-making as being an important part of life (if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not pushing yourself). But coping with mistakes – particularly if you’ve made one in public – can be a difficult concept for young children to grasp. Adrian gave some very valuable tips on how to cope with making mistakes:
    • Don’t lie awake in bed dwelling on it, or worrying – try and forget about it and ‘move on’
    • Next time your on stage, just concentrate on doing your best
    • If you make a mistake on stage or on air, just carry on as if nothing has happened. If you do acknowledge it, do it quickly and then move on.
  • Everybody gets nervous on occasions, and nerves are actually a good thing if they can be controlled – they keep you on your toes and focused. To help with nerves, Adrian drinks lots of tea. But it does mean you may have to visit the loo a lot!
  • The final tip is a gold nugget! Adrian said always be yourself when you are taking on TV or radio (or anywhere, really). Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. He offered a really good strategy to the girls;

Talk on radio / TV as if you are talking to your Mum or Dad!

Spending time with Adrian and Sophie (his Producer) was a great learning experience for Amy and Ella –  they loved it and have learned a lot about TV/Radio/presenting/what goes into a radio pre-record.

We also learned that Adrian Chiles is a lovely bloke; modest, friendly and very funny (he got us all laughing out loud)!