Hosting 101: There is Such a Thing as Being Overly Prepared

Two years ago I got the opportunity to interview Perez Hilton. I was ecstatic to say the least. I’m a die hard fan and it’s the one blog I always visit daily. It was arranged a few weeks in advance so I started to prepare…and prepare. I played tons of scenarios over and over in my head, wrote questions, rewrote them, and obsessed about every detail.

And sure enough, nothing went as planned. I was running late because of traffic and scrambled to get my gear and get out of the car as I could see Perez closing in on the end of the red carpet. There were no outlets outside and I couldn’t use my lights. I was frantic. Before I knew it, I was thrown over the ropes and heard someone tell Perez there was one last interview. No no no. I somehow wasn’t ready. This is not what I had envisioned.

Overall, things went fine. Perez was charming and fun – everything I had hoped he’d be. But I was so stuck in my own head that I barely heard him. I kept trying to remember the order of my questions and was sure I was forgetting some. Afterward, I couldn’t even remember what I said. I simply wasn’t listening.

A great host can lead a conversation. There’s give and take. I can do that. And I learned that night that I didn’t need to obsess beforehand. There’s a difference between being organized and being overly prepared. Know your interviewee and don’t go into anything blindly, but always trust yourself enough to let the rest play out on its own.

Alison Massie is a host and actress living in LA. Her roving mic has taken her to conferences, events and parties from San Francisco to LA, covering everything from technology to beauty. While attending Cal Poly, where she earned a degree in journalism with an emphasis on broadcasting, she completed an internship at KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, reported for Cal Poly TV, provided voice talent for public service announcements and reported on Cal Poly events for 1440 AM KUHL. Alison has also appeared in commercials, done voiceover work, and most recently began hosting for a local cable beauty show to air this summer.

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