Have you ever been on TV? Does the idea make you nervous?
A call from Sinead Moloney, a researcher on TV3's Midday show put the wheels in motion. Would I be happy to do an interview on their show on Thursday 17th October to mark World Menopause Day and launch mysecondspring.ie? Would I be happy? Well if you discount the small knot in my stomach at the very thought of it, well then yes, I would be happy, very happy! My good friend and former colleague in the PR world, Jane McLaughlin, had regularly assured me that TV3's Midday would be the ideal show to launch my menopause website. So, this is officially great news. All I have to do now is figure out how to get over my nerves and prepare for a TV interview.
Deciding what to wear.
By a stroke of luck just after I got the call from Sinead Moloney of TV3, I bumped into my ultra stylish neighbour, Catherine Giovanelli. As a former presenter of Behind the Hall Door on RTE, Catherine knows about these things! Her advice? “Don’t dress up!”. She advised me to wear exactly what I happened to be wearing at that time – a petrol blue Sian Jacobs jumper, jeans and ankle boots. I think this was great advice, so I did exactly as she suggested and felt relief at having this issue finalised early on. Deciding to wear “normal clothes” helped make the whole TV thing feel less strange. She did allow though that I could get my hair done, ‘if you must’. Although I stuck to Catherine's advice, at the last minute I did have a brief 'Scarf on? Scarf off?' debate - the scarf made it, rightly or wrongly.
A summary of the media tips from helpful friends, keep them in case you have a call up.
- Don’t dress up
- Be yourself
- Let the camera find you
- Smile and keep breathing.
- Don’t wear red (think that was in reference to hot flushes)
- Check out what you look like sitting down, if your interview is seated.
- Speak slowly and as if you are speaking to a five year old who doesn’t understand English – didn’t think this was necessary with Sybil.
The day before.
It was really helpful to have a warm-up chat with Sybil Mulcahy, she phoned in advance to discuss the interview and the direction it might take. We talked about the website and the support it provides for women at menopause and beyond. Sybil said to come with make-up on. There would be no make-up people, given that we were recording the interview at TV3’s OB unit (that's the Outside Broadcast unit to you or me) at Fire Restaurant on Dawson Street. It would last about four minutes and would be aired on that day's Midday Show. Sybil said it would just be herself, a producer and a cameraman. So far, so not so scary!
On Thursday morning - D day.
I took some of my favourite Bush Flower Remedy – Calm and Clear - it does what it says on the bottle. A couple of drops in water helps to keep everything in perspective and feet firmly on the ground. Then I had breakfast, hopped on my bike and headed to my reliable hairdresser Ania at Miss World for 10 am.
11am arrival at Fire.
A short chat with the cameraman, Mick and the producer Paul. Paul was just back from doing a vox pop on Grafton Street looking for people's views on Lad Mags. Meanwhile Sybil was doing her ‘teasers’ on the balcony – reporting into studio at TV3 in Ballymount on what was coming up on the show. Midday was just about to start in studio and our interview would be a cut away from the studio panel discussion. We waited and drank coffee.
11.30 lights, camera, action.
The interview got going quickly and naturally and lasted for 5 minutes. It was very helpful to know that it was being prerecorded so that any disasters could be fixed. I think I was very lucky to be sitting on a comfy chair, chatting to Sybil who was very relaxing company and really put me at my ease from the start. I tried to follow all the great advice that I had been given. Ignoring the camera, I had a very enjoyable conversation with Sybil Mulcahy who was very well versed on the website and the subject matter. Needless to say, I added a few points that were not on my agenda and left a few points out, but all in all it was surprisingly enjoyable.
Watching the Interview
It was aired 30 minutes later. So, a quick hop back on the bike and home on time to switch on TV3. I found it surprisingly emotional to see myself on TV! I was delighted that they put some good shots of the website on the screen to give people a flavour of the content and layout.
We had a great reaction from viewers to Midday and many have signed up to the website, got involved in the discussions and entered our competition.
For me, the TV experience was just another example of how, if you follow an idea and go with your gut instincts, great things can happen that stretch you and excite you and open whole new worlds. Have you had such an experience? I’d love to hear about it.