I don't have the best luck with early morning interviews (which is ironic given how long I worked on morning television). Case in point, my latest podcast appearance.
The host lives in Dubai and rents a podcast studio for her recordings. Naturally we were on her schedule, which meant the latest I could book was 6 a.m. I knew I needed to wake up at 5 a.m. (my usual wakeup is 5:55 a.m.) in order to shower, put on makeup and ready my home studio for a video podcast.
I was early for this twice. The first when the podcast was in my calendar for the wrong week. The second time I was early was the day before, when I naturally work at 5:00 a.m. for no reason.
But the actual day in question? Not only did I not naturally wake up at 5:00 a.m., but I forgot to change my alarm and woke at 5:55 a.m. Five minutes before I was meant to be on-camera.
There was no time to shower, so my hair went up in a ponytail. There was no time for makeup, so only red lipstick. I grabbed underwear, bra and button-down shirt.
And that's it. I recorded the podcast without pants on.
This is what live TV training has done to me. When you're racing against the clock, you only focus on what is going to show up on screen. The rest of the studio could be in chaos, but the only thing that matters is what the camera shoots.
The audience does not need to know what's falling apart behind-the-scenes. What would anyone gain if I brought up my wardrobe malfunction during the interview?
And yet how many times do we feel the need to mention these BTS shenanigans when we're on screen? To apologize for the mess on the floor (that only you can see), or the snoring dog (that only you hear), or any other detail that has no bearing or value on the meeting at hand?
We sometimes bring these details up to downplay a situation. To humanize the problem. We've been conditioned to offer up excuses when we're in the wrong. All this does is deepen your state of being "in the wrong".
Here's the thing, people mess up. Calendars lie. And you can trick yourself into thinking you've changed your alarm when you, in fact, have not. We're all flawed. Pointing out the degree to which you're surrounded by chaos does not humanize you. Nor does it make you special. Rather it chips away at your authority. It undermines what you can offer when you've been given a stage.
Any time you are commanding a screen, you are demanding attention from people who have very little attention to spare. You have to earn that place if you expect to hold it.
So the next time you feel the need to apologize for a loud dishwasher, ask yourself: In a time where every minute is precious, why waste it with unnecessary details? Ignore the action outside the screen and deliver what's expected of you.