Monday, May 5, 2008

Thank You for Having Me

I'll admit that I'm easily entertained. Here's what makes me smile pretty much every morning as I watch the "Today Show" while getting ready for the long commute to my office.

The show's "expert" (vs. ordinary consumer who is on the show because she saw a tornado hit a trailer park or performed a super human act in a time of crisis) nearly always says "Thanks for having me" no matter how he or she is greeted.

Meredith or Matt might say, "Attorney Mike Brown joins us now from the court room in Boston. Mike, those women are actually being sued for looking too tan in February, aren't they?" or "Dr. Smith is an expert on post-surgical polyps and will tell us how we can prevent them," or even "Joe, what the heck were you thinking?!?" And still, the response is, "Thank you for having me."

It makes me laugh even though I understand the reason behind the response. These guests are expecting to be welcomed to the show -- "Thank you, Dr. Smith, for joining us. How can we prevent those post-surgical polyps?" or "Joe, we're glad you could join us, especially under the embarrassing circumstances." In the interview script they've rehearsed over and over in their heads while preparing for this big-time appearance, everybody has good manners: The host welcomes them and they, in turn, thank the host for the welcome.

But because they're nervous about being on the show -- and who wouldn't be? -- they aren't listening to precisely how they're being introduced. They're repeating to themselves, "Smile and say thank you, smile and say thank you, smile and say thank you." So that's what comes out. "Thank you for having me."

And that's when I laugh.

It's not a mean laugh. Really, it's not. It's an empathetic laugh. I've been in their shoes before, so focused on what I want to communicate during my few short minutes on the air that I couldn't even tell you how I got to the studio for the interview.

It's a great way to start every day, but it also reminds me about the importance of truly listening, regardless of the situation. I wonder how many doofus communication mistakes I've made -- in interviews or with friends -- because I haven't listened as well as I should.

Well, anyway, thanks for having me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your article was very entertaining.