I played my harmonica on national television.
Recently, some co-workers and I went to a taping of “The Steve Harvey Show.” While we were waiting to be
seated, a show employee approached our group and asked whether any of us wanted to ask Steve a question for the next day’s taping.
She was talking to the right people—journalists always want to ask something.
While we were brainstorming questions to ask Steve, I mentioned to the staff member that I play the harmonica. If you watch tomorrow’s show, you’ll realize the word “play” can be interpreted loosely.
Here was the question the producer wanted me to ask Steve: Is it OK to play the harmonica at the end of a first date? She also asked me to bring along my
harmonica and play it.
For the sake of daytime television, that’s exactly what I did.
Even if you’re not planning to be on “The Steve Harvey Show,” there’s a lot I learned from my television debut. Here are a few tips for your next big media
Show, don’t tell
Sure, it might weird for you to whip out the harmonica and play it, but is there some kind of prop from the hospital that you could bring on air?
Especially if you’re explaining a difficult medical concept, a visual can make a big difference.
Do some prep work
I had a vague idea of what I was getting myself into. I had played a few notes the night before to warm up. Before your interview, think like the
interviewer. Ask yourself some questions you think they’ll ask. Pro tip: Get a friend or colleague to interview you beforehand as a trial run.
Wear a bright, solid color. You probably won’t get to go into a wardrobe room, but don’t be afraid to wear some sparkly jewelry. (Guys, this advice
probably doesn’t apply to you.) I don’t wear much makeup, but I have to admit: Mascara is great. (Mom, you were right.)
It’s OK to smile and laugh, unless you’re talking about a horrible disaster. Remember to blink. “Pretend that the camera isn’t there” isn’t easy to
actually do, but you could pretend that the camera isn’t really turned on.
Tell everybody you know you’re going to be on TV
Find out when the segment will air. If the segment is going to be fun and exciting, tell your fans and followers. Tease it up with tweets and Facebook
posts. You can cross-promote with the station to get even more people to watch.
Then again, your TV segment might be met with some skepticism. After I got back into the office, I emailed Ann Tracy Mueller, co-editor of the health care
website, about my afternoon. Her reaction:
OMG! I DO NOT believe you. This may explain why you sometimes struggle with getting past date number one. Holy smokes!
Well, Ann, that may or may not be true—but at least I got some laughs.