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|In Consultation - Page 2|
In spite of my initial excitement, I was so anxious you could fry an egg on my forehead when I found myself sitting backstage waiting to appear in a few minutes. When Sally herself came by to say hello before my segment, she picked up on my anxiety right away. "You know, if you feel nervous about all of this, it'll probably serve you well," she said in a comforting tone. "Usually, when guests are wired, it comes across as high energy, and that's a good thing on TV. So don't try to fight it." Easy for her to say, I thought, but hearing that calmed my nerves a bit.
The segment came off well, and I was initiated into the world of television. When I watched the show afterward, I realized Sally had been right on target: being wired by nervous anticipation can make for good television. This wasn't a lesson I'd learned doing therapy, I assure you.
So if you do get the chance to go public, be prepared to psych yourself up for it. Focus on the excitement and energized feelings that propelled you into the situation. You might think of something you feel strongly about and imagine trying to convince others of your position. Be ready with a story or personal experience that interests, informs, and entertains others—and relate it with passion. Personally, I used to scream, "Go, go, go!" when I was in the shower or getting dressed before an appearance. It released a lot of my nervous energy, and actually helped me to loosen up. Remember, you're shooting for that special mix of high energy and relaxed composure that carries well over the airwaves.
The cardinal rule of getting on TV or radio is to get to the point about whatever you're saying. Producers and news writers are looking for someone who can speak in soundbites (pithy pieces of information), and hold their listeners' attention. One plus for therapists interested in trying out their media skills is that producers are always searching for interesting ideas or psychological slants on news stories. They're in the market for fresh new personalities who are experts in particular areas (e.g. children, couples, families, or particular disorders), but are equally articulate about other issues.
There are two ways to get on the air: you can either make the news or comment on it. Authoring an interesting book or article, working with a dramatic or visible case, or advocating a controversial position on an issue can quickly broaden your exposure. Television producers in particular look for drama, conflict, and sexy stories that'll capture the public's imagination. Once you've established yourself as an expert in a particular area, they tend to call on you for comments on related stories.