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RANDOM THOUGHTS: The King of Talk Shows

“I never wanted to be anything but a broadcaster, a talker. And for 40 years, I’ve been doing just that. To me, the ability to talk well is one of the great pleasures in life and can bring with it some of life’s greatest rewards.” (Larry King, “How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere”, Reader’s Digest, Nov. 1997)

Larry King was the king of TV “Talk Shows”. Of the 20th century. His six (6) tips on how to be a good talker are:

You Don’t Have to be Quotable.

Attitude Counts.

Remember to Take Turns.

Broaden Your Horizon.

Keep It Light.

Be the Genuine You.

Before we discuss in more detail these six (6) tips, let me inform our readers that I also enjoy talking and listening. I like to call this dialogue – a-two-way means of communication. I used to participate in radio and TV talk shows. When I got involved in politics concomitantly, I was exposed to media affairs. My big advantage vis-à-vis common media professionals is that I’m a professionally trained development planner and a wide-reader who is knowledgable of all aspects of life be it spiritual, physical, political, economic, and environmental. Unfortunately, almost all my media contemporaries are now dead. They were Prof. Pris Rojo, Sonny Mendoza, Jun Guiterrez and Romy Torres. Back to King’s six tips mentioned earlier.

On his number 1 tips. “You don’t Have to be Quotable.” King started his broadcasting career by admitting to his listeners his ‘mike fright’ predicament as a neophyte. He slowly gained self-confidence despite being so. I, myself, experienced stage fright the first time I was asked to speak in public. I can hardly read my prepared speech then. It is like learning how to swim. You must go into the water!

On his number 2 tip. “Attitude counts.” This refers to the mental state or mood. Strong “will to talk is crucial in becoming a better talker”, per King. One must love what he/she is doing. A discerning and positive attitude is imperative for success. I love to write and talk so that I can share my ideas or opinions on a certain issue which, I think, will benefit the general public.

On his number 3 tip. “Remember to take turns”. According to King, “listening makes you a better talker. Good follow-up questions are marked by a good conversationalist. An ABS-CBN Karen Davila, I think, is backed up by researchers on the person she will interview and on the current issue(s) they will be discussing.

On number 4 tip. “Broaden Your Horizon” This pertains to expanding your knowledge on various issues. “Experience is the best teacher” in this regard. It has been said that “knowledge is gained by study while wisdom is gained by observation.” Per King, “people with backgrounds different from your own can help broaden your conversation repertoire and your thinking”. Being a wide reader is my prescription on this matter.

On number 5 tip. “Keep it light” King’s “cardinal rule of conversation is never stay too serious too long.” A sense of humor such as “self-deprecating ones work very well. I usually start my speeches with a joke to “break the ice.” Laughter is the best medicine and a keen observer, no doubt.

On number 6 tip. “Be the Genuine You.” Per King, “Be open and honest with your conversational partners as you’d want them to be with you. Revealing yourself is part of give and take conversation of getting to know people.” In my case, I revealed that I grew up in a broken family. That my mother was a single Mom. And that I’m not good at English grammar.

Let me conclude this article with the wise words of the king of talk shows-King’s words:

“Whether you’re talking to one person or a million, the rules are the same. Show empathy, enthusiasm, and willingness to listen, and you can’t help becoming a master of talk.”


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