“Is that a smirk or a grimace? You started laughing as I mentioned this legislation. I mean this is a very serious proposal from the government. Will you ignore it?”
Amol Rajan to ASLEF boss Mick Whelan on R4 Today recently. Whelan completely ignored the interjection and – to be fair – may not have minded the intimation that he was mocking and/or contemptuous of the government.
Yet it’s a reminder that it is fair game for a presenter to reflect on your physical reaction as a question is being asked. The most common by some way is the nod. You might be nodding because (a) you were expecting the question or (b) because you understand the question. But a nod gives the signal that you accept the premise of the question. And that’s something you absolutely might not want to do.
“You’re nodding as I ask that so presumably it’s something you agree with.”
I talk a lot in media training sessions about stillness. It’s a concept I’ll explore in more detail in future weeks (try to contain your excitement), but it comes into its own as you listen to questions. Revealing how you feel can – and occasionally is – used against you.