The most valuable lesson you can learn from your local news team.

I love the movie Anchorman. It’s a hilarious look at a local TV news team. It has everything you could possibly want in a movie, including Will Ferrell, a gang fight between rival news crews, and a totally random musical number. The movie is dense with classic quotes. And it taught me what San Diego means in German.

The movie also teaches you about the 5 roles that make up a local news team.

  1. The Anchor. The leader of the crew. He or she delivers the general news. They greet the viewer at the top of the show and get to deliver their catchphrase at the end. #StayClassySanDiego

2. The Co-Anchor They are like the Vice President. They help deliver the main news, offer a banter partner, and appeal to a slightly different audience. The anchor and co-anchor are often different genders, ages, races, hair colors, or mustache styles, depending on how evolved management is.

3. The Sports Person. They share updates on local, and national sports news. They typically seem the most athletic-y. They were often former athletes and really into sports. They may have considered becoming a PE teacher but realized they don’t want to wear sweatpants all day.

4. The Investigative Reporter This is the reporter who helps expose the wrongdoings in the community. In school, they were the tattletale and probably got picked on a lot. Their job is their revenge.

5. The Weatherperson. They report the weather. They are usually fun and outgoing. They typically seem like they would be the most fun to hang out with. The community usually loves them and they love them right back. I have some Weatherperson friends including Mark Baden at WISN12 in Milwauke. Pete Bouchard at NBC 10 in Boston and I played football together in high school. And the Meteorological Badass, Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, grew up one town over from me in Vermont.

One of These Things is Not Like The Others

While these 5 work together as one crew, they offer 2 distinctly different types of information to viewers. The Anchor, Co-Anchor, Investigative Reporter and Sports Person report, recap and summarize significant events that have recently happened. Which is valuable.

However…

The Weatherperson’s great value is not in recapping what happened in the past 24 hours, but in shedding light on what will happen next. Sure, they will tell you what the temperature was that day, how much rain or snow fell, and maybe what time the sun came up and went down. But like Bob Dylan sang, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

The Weatherperson is uniquely valuable in predicting future weather. And they have gotten really good at this. The science of meteorology and weather forecasting is astounding. They are able to predict what the future holds in terms of temperature, cloudage, windage and precipitation. They have the ability to forecast conditions by the hour, even many days in advance. That is freaking amazing!

The Weather Person’s knowledge and insights about future weather enable you to make important decisions and preparations. They provide information that helps you decide what to wear, and what actions to take when. The forecast helps you plan the activities for the day or week ahead. And they let you know when you should apply extra glue to your toupee.

Forecasting Your Life

Taking a cue from the Weatherperson, there is another highly valuable skill that you should develop that will have a major positive impact on your future. It doesn’t involve quitting your job and running off to join the weatherperson circus. I’m suggesting you hone and polish your skills as a Regret Forecaster.

Dedicate time each day, week, season, and year to forecast your future regrets. This will include things you did do that you wish you hadn’t done and things you didn’t do that you wish you had. By doing so you are able to predict future outcomes while there is still time to alter them. While hindsight is said to be 20/20, regret forecasting can help you dial in your foresight with great accuracy too. And it costs a lot less.

There Are 4 Major Things That People regret.

  1. Not doing the foundational work you should have when you should have done it. (Doing the work, saving money, getting the education, exercising etc.)
  2. Not taking the risk you should have taken. (Starting the business, writing the book, traveling to interesting places. Changing jobs.)
  3. Not developing, maintaining or reigniting relationships. (There is an unpredictable time limit on these activities. Because most of your friends and family are mortals.)
  4. Having done the wrong thing. (Think cheating, lying, murdering, unprotected sexing.)

The older I get and the honester I become with myself the better my regret radar becomes. Today I find myself regretting less and less. Not because I don’t care. But because I care more. Because I have taken more time to think about the future and the end of my days and the unfinished business, missed opportunities and untended relationships. I use the regret forecast to feel the sting today. Which inspires me to act now. And prevents me from murdering others.

Key Takeaway

Start calibrating your regret radar now. Write down the 4 areas of your life to examine. See what pings. Start addressing that today. Do the work now that will matter later. Take the chances you know you should. Avoid the wrong, because that is always right. And most importantly, develop and maintain as many relationships as you can. At the end of your days, that will matter most.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I’ve learned so far check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

9 Tips on how to give a great TV interview from home.

Today, nearly everything that is fun or interesting has been cancelled thanks to COVID-19. In this desert of  action, the smallest activities you are doing appear fun and interesting to the rest of the stuck-at-home world. Which means that right now there is a better than average chance you will be interviewed by the news media. Even if you haven’t done anything truly interesting. Or illegal.

Your place. Not mine.

However, due to social distancing, stay-at-home regulations and lockdowns, no reporter will show up at your home or business to talk to you. And they aren’t going to invite you and your potential cooties into the news studio for a chat. Instead, you will be asked to give your interview at home on your computer, smart phone or tablet.

Prison interview
Just because you are doing an interview doesn’t mean you are getting out.

Air Time

I have been asked to do 2 TV interviews in the past week. The first was with Julia Fello about how our team at The Weaponry is adjusting to working from home. The other was an interview with George Balekji about a video chat reunion that 16 of my University of Wisconsin college track teammates held last Friday to revive the camaraderie of our locker room during this time of social and physical isolation.

You can see the working from home interview here.

You can see the track team reunion interview here.

Here’s a dumb video of a guy inhaling over and over again that is trending at my house. 

You May Be Next

In case you get called by the local or national news to do an interview from home, here are a few tricks to increase the likelihood of you giving a great interview that will actually get used.

9 Tips For A Great Interview From Home

1. Find A Good Background

Find a simple, uncluttered place in your home to conduct the interview. To find an appealing background you may have to get creative. Prop your backdrop if necessary. In the Pro Tip below, my friend Katrina Cravy, a media training expert and long time news anchor demonstrates that the setting you choose sends an important message about your brand.

2. Adjust The Camera Height to Eye Level

Our computers and hand-held phone cameras are typically well below our natural eye line. Which means that we look down at them when we are in our normal operating mode. But for an interview it is much better to raise the camera up to eye level. This will make it look as if you are having a conversation with a real human, not your little digital buddy. Use boxes or books to elevate your laptop. If you have a music stand in your home, it will work perfectly to hold your smart phone at eye level. Best of all, it will prevent the rest of us from staring up your nose and seeing bats in the cave during your interview.

woman in gray sweater taking selfie
Adjust the camera height so that the camera is at eye level.  If your eyes turn this color you did it right.

3. Go Landscape Mode 

We naturally hold our smartphones vertically when we use them. Which is called portrait mode (named after Francois Portrait*). But a television has a horizontal orientation. To make sure your picture properly adapts to the TV screen, turn your phone sideways into landscape mode for your interview. It will look much better on TV.

person taking photo of stage stadium presentation
This is how you and Montell Jordan do it.

4. Hold Still

There will likely be a lag in the video based on your technology, wi-fi strength or internet speed. So the more you move (like I tend to do) the funkier your interview is likely to look. Keep you body movements to a minimum in order to not draw attention to picture quality.

psychotic-depression-adrian-swancar-1205637-unsplash-1280x429
You want your interview to turn heads. But don’t turn your head during your at-home interview.

5. Improve the Sound

Bad sound will ruin an interview. If you have a good microphone, use it. A headset can work well too. Earbuds are good. Air Pods work really well, because they don’t dictate where you sit. Even better, they don’t have wires to dangle and distract viewers.

Ray Davies Tip: Remember to workout the kinks in your audio technology well before the interview starts.

Ray Davies
Ray Davies knows things.

6. Prepare Your Talking Points

TV news is all about the sound bite. So make sure you have some strong, simple sound bites to share. Before the interview write down your thoughts on the topic. Craft them into short, interesting or memorable statements. A unique, but easily understood statement makes for great TV. Keep your notes nearby to reference during the interview.

Pro Tip: Practice delivering your talking points before the interview. Write down the name of the reporter on your notes. If you are nervous, write down your own name too.

IMG_1450
An example of my pre-interview notes. What does #13 say?

7. Properly Frame Yourself.

Position yourself within the picture so that you look great. You should be centered left and right. Don’t leave a lot of room over your head. If you notice the ceiling in your shot you are doing it wrong. If you can smell your own breath through the screen, back up. And have a mint.

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This would be wrong. Beautiful, but wrong.

8. Light It Up.

You are not in a perfectly lit studio. So you will have to control the lighting yourself. First, make sure there is enough light on your face so you don’t look dark and creepy. Natural light works great. If you can position yourself to get even light from a window it will make you look even more naturally beautiful than you already are. Then consider grabbing an additional lamp, especially a flexible, direct-able lamp to add additional light if needed.

Side Note: I believe in Crystal Light, cause I believe in me. #nowthatswhatIcall80s

photo of woman in pink long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on brown sofa with her eyes closed
Channel your inner Bob Barker and make sure the light is right.

9. Next Level Background

Zoom enables you to use a virtual background. To do this you will either need a very good computer, a plain wall, or a green screen backdrop. Grab a green blanket, sheet or towel, and hang it behind you to create your own green screen at home. On Zoom, go to Preferences…Virtual Background, and then manually pick the background color by clicking the small oval. Then click on your background to sample the background color your photo will replace. You can upload any photo to create your perfect backdrop.

IMG_1446
You can change your background to suit the interview. Here I was interviewed about a crop circle I thought I saw. It turns out it was running track.

Key Takeaway

This is a great time to share a little of your good news with the world. Make the most of your opportunity by preparing yourself ahead of time. A little planning will go a long way towards ensuring that you look good and sound good on TV. Good luck. And Stay Classy San Diego.

*Don’t waste your time googling Francois Portrait. I just made that up.

**If you know someone who could benefit from these tips, please share this with them.