Our Head of News Pete Meikle is always ready to tell a good story, but how good is he with listening to one? We talk to him about his #LISTENINGFACE…
Describe your listening face
Squinty eyed, furrows in the brow, head cocked, very slightly, to one side. Intense. Intent. Interested. That’s me in full-on listening mode. It’s a look that says: “Hey, I’m hooked on what you’re telling me. I’m listening. Yes, really listening.” It’s often accompanied by rapid nodding –encouraging the talker to spill the beans. Say more than he or she probably should. Years working as a journalist on newspapers and in TV news, trying to winkle stories out of people, means I think I’ve honed a half decent listening face. Empathetic, even when I’m not really, and locked-on eye-contact. Absolutely essential.
Recount a time you listened to somebody
Being a drummer in bands since I was a teenager means you can face the perils of not listening properly very publically. Imagine the embarrassment of missing your cue in front of drunken hoards in packed pubs? And it’s the fear of that embarrassment that has helped keeps my ears keen –making sure I come in at the right place and don’t face the angry scowls of band-members and the derision of the punters.
Recount a time somebody listened to you
I do a lot or media training –telling bosses of big companies how they should talk in a way that makes them genuinely interesting when they appear on news programmes. It’s so satisfying when you see them on live telly and they’re saying stuff you taught them in a session. It reminds me of Broadcast News, a film I saw as a student in Birmingham 30 years back, that inspired me to get into the TV news game.
And a time you didn’t listen
Year 2000, spotted a house for sale in an estate agents window. Looked great. But why was it so damn cheap? Then I saw it was beside a main road, railway line and pub garden. Friends and family were united: “Don’t bother –you’ll never be happy living there”. Ignored them all and we moved in. Seventeen years on, it’s still the best decision I ever made.