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If you’re smart, you’ll learn something new from every job. And given that you’ll switch, not just jobs, but careers several times over your life, your unique advantage comes from the wisdom you pick up along the way.

If you worked in customer service, you’ll know how to handle clients when you go into business for yourself.

If you used to work as a reporter, you’ll have a nose for asking the right questions when you start law school.

And if you’ve ever douched your own nasal passages on national TV, you’ll know how to, quite literally, go with the flow.

(True story. More on that in a minute.)

For years I served as a magazine editor at Martha Stewart—and part of my job was doing regular TV segments on hers and other daytime shows. I also hosted my own daily radio show on Sirius XM for years.

Media, I’ve found, is a pretty powerful crucible for learning how to think on your feet when it matters most.

And should you decide to pursue media as part of your career (say as a contributing expert or guest, or perhaps even as an editor or producer), here are some key insights that will serve you on the air—and everywhere else.

Lesson #1: Keep it moving

In TV, you have maybe 3 to 5 minutes tops, so you have to make the best of every single one of them—especially on live TV. There is no editing, and there’s no time to hit the brakes if things go awry.

One time on Martha’s show, I was demonstrating a series of meditation apps. They worked fine during rehearsal. But when we went live? No dice. There we were, and for two long seconds the balloons that were supposed to dance across the screen, didn’t.

Martha started asking, “Why isn’t it working,” and rather than dwell on it, I waved it off (“Who knows?”) and kept things going. I said, “Well, what you would have seen, had it worked, was…” and spent a second or two explaining it, rendering the actual demo unnecessary.

In Real Life (IRL): Don’t dwell on it. Doesn’t matter if your powerpoint slides wouldn’t advance, or why three people canceled on your meeting. We waste far too much time looking backwards, trying to edit the past.

Obviously, understand a problem well enough so that you don’t let it happen again. But there are some times when inexplainable blips occur and at some point, it isn’t worth revisiting.

Instead, think like a host who is on to the following segment: “Next up! Let’s find out how to juice kale at home!” It doesn’t matter why the world didn’t going your way. Just. Keep. Going.

Lesson #2: Make an impression

The people who do well as on-air contributors are not only clear communicators—they aren’t afraid to stake their claim.

The people I booked as experts on my radio show were those who brought their ideas and opinions to the table, not the ones who played it safe all the time.

IRL: The more you waffle and hesitate, the less impressive and less interesting you become. The people who stand out and get tapped for bigger opportunities are the ones who aren’t afraid to own up to what they really think, and stand by it.

Lesson #3: Be game for anything

There’s no room on TV to do anything less than 100 percent. Even if you’re nervous. Better to see it through than fail halfway.

I was about to step onto the set of Martha to discuss a series of natural flu remedies, including the neti pot, an ages-old practice of flushing the nasal passages with warm saline water.

The plan changed five minutes before I went on the air, when the producer said, “Martha wants you to demo the neti pot.”

Um, what?

“Get me a towel and a bowl,” I said. And I walked on stage and douched my nose on national television. It was messy and, yes, I was dying a little inside as I did it. But you can’t fake a neti pot demo. You have to go all in.

(You can watch that clip here—at the 1:50 mark)

The audience laughed, Martha clapped, and a clip of it ended up on some online video called “WTF is going on with daytime TV?”

That was a win.

IRL: Commit. You’ll get real props for trying something, whether it works out or not—especially if you fully commit to doing it.

Realize that you don’t actually learn much from doing things right. You learn from doing it period. Win or lose, the effort teaches you so much more, not only about what you have done—but, more importantly, what you can do.

Want to learn more about how to be a go-to media expert? Register for the FREE online training I’m giving with seasoned TV producer Paula Rizzo, “5 (Little-Known) Ways to Snag Media Attention…That Even PR Pros Get Wrong” on March 13th or 14th.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 8.53.41 AMSo Umano, that smart news platform that reads the news to you, is pulling the plug on this operation in a matter of days. You know this, I know this. My heart aches over this, the way it does when any great, original idea goes away, and not because it’s a bad idea, but because the market is a tough mother. I won’t pretend to know what decisions went into this one, but I’m sure they weren’t easy.

For years, I was a senior editor at a magazine called Whole Living, formerly Body+Soul. It’s where I cut my teeth in publishing, where my career really took off. I put that issue to bed for years like a child, even as it kicked and screamed, and other times was as sweet as could be. I’d never loved a job more. I poured my best writing into it. It’s where I learned how to be an editor, which is the art of choosing some things and not others–from ideas down to the tiniest words. I also learned to weather some serious corporate storms, and say goodbye to a whole team and set sail solo to new offices in New York where I knew no one, and had to start all over.

I was laid off from that magazine when times got tough, and not too long after, times got so tough it closed altogether. I was still sad, just as you would be if you found out an ex-boyfriend who broke up with you first had suffered an ill fate. Not good.

And when people asked me, But why? It was such a great magazine! So many people loved it! My response is: Yes, it was! And they look for some secret flaw that would give the answer, as to why some things don’t last. And the truth is, sometimes it’s not about how great you are. Whole Living died the death of a thousand other publications—not because it wasn’t beautiful and artful and thoughtful and well done, but because the market has its way, and it isn’t going the way of print. We mourn it and move on.

So when I learned that Umano was closing its doors, I was sad too—after all, I poured my best work into it, too. I cultivated my own subscribers and fans. You guys showed up and cared to hear me out. More than eight thousand of you have. You made me feel important, like I mattered. So when I say, but why? Umano is such a great idea, and there are so many listeners! I find myself up against the same argument as before: Just because you have fans, just because a thing works and works well doesn’t mean it gets to stick around.

That’s a hard lesson for all of us, isn’t it. For our business, our brands, for anyone who creates a thing they think and hope and pray will last. What we want is something that endures, really—whether it’s a business, or a relationship, or an app, for that matter. But, and I don’t mean to get too existential here, lasting may not always be the goal.

Trust me, I have very self-interested reasons for wanting you around! Aside from the fact that I love a captive audience. I hate that this party is breaking up and you all are going to go somewhere else. I can try to invite you to my house, but I know you won’t all come. But I want to thank you for being here in the first place. I do hope you’ll stay in touch, but more than that, I wish for you that you never stop pouring your best stuff into what matters, what you believe in, even if it wasn’t meant to last.

(Listen to it here while the site is still up)