Monday, November 29, 2010

The Julie and David Eisenhower Interview on CBS "Sunday Morning": A Lesson in the Obligations of Those Who Are Voluble, Expressive, or Outspoken

I’ve long been an admirer of Julie and David Eisenhower, and not for any ideological reasons. And because the famous couple rarely appears in the media, I eagerly consumed every moment of their interview broadcast last month on CBS “Sunday Morning,” one of my favorite television shows. [For the uninitiated: Julie Eisenhower is the daughter of President Nixon and David is the grandson of President Eisenhower.]

But one aspect of the interview was painful watching: Each time interviewer Mo Rocca threw a question at the seated couple jointly, the voluble and assertive Julie would instantly launch into a reply, with David sometimes vainly gesturing and trying to add a comment (once, even flailing his arms) and then abandoning his response mid-sentence upon realizing that he was not getting anywhere (because of his relative inaudibility, he was unable to seize Mo Rocca’s attention), as Julie continued with her detailed and enthusiastic response.

I believe there is a powerful lesson to be drawn from the above. Whenever two or more people are being interviewed jointly, it behooves the person who is decidedly more vocal, expressive, or vehement to make a conscious effort, such as occasionally pausing and looking at the other person, to encourage and even coax a response from him or her. A must if the latter happens to be a relatively shy or reticent type.

To watch that fascinating segment on CBS:

© Copyright 2010 V.J. Singal

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