You know the exhilaration, no, the rush you feel as you walk up to a podium, set your notes in front of you and look out at the expectant audience just sitting there ready to soak up what you have to say? No? Me either. I also think the old “The more you speak in front of crowds the easier it gets” line is bull, too. I’d like to see some scientific, peer-based research to back that up.
It’s been more than a month since I appeared on Good Day Wisconsin with Rachel Manek and I still haven’t watched the video footage. I can’t bear to. I’m not now, nor have I ever been a public speaker. I get stage fright if I have to order fast food with a line of people behind me.
For someone who gets sick to her stomach thinking about public speaking of any kind, appearing on Good Day Wisconsin seems out of character. However, I had to admit to myself that to say no when invited on the show wouldn’t be in keeping with the spirit of Life as a Field Trip. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and it would make a great post about an unusual field trip. So yes, this post could well have been about what it’s like behind the scenes of a morning news show, but sadly, I was so nervous the whole thing was a blur.
Behind the Behind the Scenes
One morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed a happy little red message notification appeared. Rachel Manek messaged me through my Life as a Field Trip Facebook page to see if I would come on her show to talk about summer field trips to take with kids. Gulp. I said yes before I could talk myself out of it/realize what I agreed to/chicken out. We messaged back and forth about what she was looking for and I started panicking. What did I agree to do???
The week before my Good Day Wisconsin appearance, she sent me questions to give me an idea of what we’d chat about ON LIVE TV. Did you read that? Read it again slowly. ON LIVE TV. Ruh roh, Shaggy. I printed out the questions, came up with answers, and committed them to memory. I practiced until those pages were hardly recognizable. Then the day of my appearance arrived.
Behind the Scenes
Of course, the big day arrived way too fast…Mostly I only remember taking deep, “calming” breaths all morning leading up to arriving at the TV studio. I do remember a few other details, but only because I have photographic evidence, thanks to my mini-me. He not only took photos while I was on air, but he also gave me something to focus on while we waited for my turn. You know I had to make it a field trip for him, too, right? We talked about what we saw in the studio, what we thought equipment might be for, and what the presenters were doing.
I was impressed with the studio. I didn’t know what to expect, but I guess I had a kind of UHF-vision of what it would be like at a local news station- something drab and depressing with under-motivated employees working behind the scenes. Instead, it was upbeat, clean and classy. And seeing each of the sets was pretty cool. It’s really one big room with several nooks for different “spots” throughout the morning’s show. Possibly this is common knowledge, but it was all new and interesting to me. Evidently, I hadn’t spent much time thinking about what went on at a local news station.
P and I took a picture to remember all the cords. They were everywhere! I could just see myself tripping over one and bringing the whole show to a screeching halt.
Rachel invited us to watch a sushi segment out on the Weather Deck- not many people get to go out there, she explained- but P was far more interested in the Doppler Radar equipment than the sushi. He stood at the base of the tower with his head craned way back happily evaluating it while the news world went on around him. Later as we drove away he proclaimed, “That (Doppler equipment) was impressive!”
It was all a blur
The sushi segment was over, we were back inside and I was sitting on the big white couch waiting for our segment to begin. As Rachel led me through what to expect, I saw Emily Deem sitting next to P, keeping him company while I was on the air. Then Rachel told me, just before going on air, she forgot what she told me we’d talk about exactly. GULP. Oh well, I told myself, wing it! And I did.
Rachel is a class act. She’s extremely skilled at what she does. I’d have trouble keeping track of commercial time, knowing which camera to look at, and how to walk to avoid tripping over the rivers of cords. She seemed to do all that and much more without thinking about it. The most impressive thing about Rachel though, was her ability to make me feel comfortable, or as comfortable as I was going to get anyway. She skillfully guided me through our interview, anticipating bumps in the road and covering any awkward moments. It was over before I knew it. My mouth was dry, my palms were sweaty, I might have wet my pants. But I did it.
Will I do it again? I sure hope not. But I bet it wouldn’t be as nerve-wracking if I had to do it again. I might even feel a little rush as I walk into the studio.