10 Commandments of Conducting a TV Debate or Interview
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March 25, 2019

10 Commandments of Conducting a TV Debate or Interview

TV Debate or Interview

In today’s day and time, irrespective of your age and preferences, debates and interviews are an integral part of our life and an inseparable part of Broadcast Journalism. Be it political debates and interviews hosted by people like Arnab Goswami, Ravish Kumar and Barkha Dutt or entertaining or celebrity interviews hosted by Karan Johar or Kapil Sharma, talk-show hosts are giving the celebrities a run for their money.

Even international TV show hosts like David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have created a legendary space for themselves in the minds of the viewers.

So, what is it that makes them great at what they do? Let’s find out!

10 Things that Can Help You Become a Great News Debate Anchor

There are a few sacrosanct rules and a few guidelines that a responsible TV host should adhere to. It should be a seamless blend of some moral and ethical obligations and creative impulses. A few of such guidelines are as follows:

  1. Prepare: Do your homework. As a presenter, it’s your duty to be well informed about the topics of discussion and the participants of the debate or interview. It helps to avoid potentially awkward moments where you are left guessing for references. List out all the topics that have to be covered in the discussion and ensure that you touch upon each and every one of them. Observe good orators and their habits and try to inculcate them for an impactful delivery. It’s also always a good idea to study semiotics for good rhetorical communication.
  2. Give everybody a fair chance: Every participant deserves fair bandwidth to express and articulate his/her opinions and feelings. It becomes your prerogative to keep it unbiased and let everybody speak. Learn how to tactfully interrupt and start conversations to keep the proceedings entertaining and informative.
  3. Ensure balance and decency: These situations can get especially tricky in the case of political debates and discussions. Avoid topics that can insinuate and create a stressful or tense environment. You have to handle such situations with tact and diplomacy.
  4. Ensure that your unbiased and neutral: This probably is one of the most important points that you MUST follow. It is crucial not to let your personal opinions, biases and leanings affect the proceedings at all. You have to present the topics in a totally neutral way. It is your duty to lay down facts and not give any hints or directions to the audience.
  5. Know when to listen and when to interrupt: Listen well to your guests. Be a good communicator. You should also be prompt and know how and when to stop a speaker if he/she is extending their time slot or digressing, being offensive or beating around the bush.
  6. Take the reins: Always be aware that you are the ‘Sutradhaar’. Ensure that the proceedings always stay in your control. Achieve a balance of listening and speaking. As it is rightly said, you are the ANCHOR of the show. A good sense of humour goes a long way in such endeavors.
  1. Viewers always come first: Make it a point to address only those issues which make for good, sensible viewing. Do not let anything obstruct this ultimate goal. Do not let personal agendas pollute the intent of the discussion.
  2. Technically sound: The key to smooth proceedings is ensuring technical perfection. Use the best and most compatible devices possible to guarantee a glitch less show. In case of telephonic interviews, use landlines instead of mobile phones and always have contingency plans if you’re relying on telephonic, electronic or mechanical devices and the internet.
  1. Respect privacy and personal space: Your guests are humans with emotions. Always respect their space even with factors like your body language and tone. Creating controversies is NOT your job. The participants have a right to privacy and you should respect it.
  2. Connect: Try and connect with the speakers. If there is an audience connect with them too. Be comfortable in your own skin and don’t put on any gimmick. A good connect with the participants lays down the foundation for fruitful communication.

Keep in mind all these factors to be an effective TV/web anchor. Good hosts can go on to become a force to reckon with in a socio-political scenario. You can actually wield the power to be the catalysts of positive change in the society. It is indeed a powerful and coveted position and with the right choices, you will get there!

However, it all starts with first equipping yourself with the right education. Having a solid Degree in Broadcast Journalism can set you on the path to assuming diverse roles in the web and television journalism space, including that of a host/anchor. Check out Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism’s comprehensive degree course in journalism offered at its Pune campus now!

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