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  • Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

  • Alice: and I'm Alice. Now Neil, I'm a big fan of chat shows, as you know.

  • But what do you think makes a good interview?

  • Neil: I like it when the interviewer asks a question that catches the guest off guard.

  • You know .... to surprise them so they're embarrassed and don't know what to say.

  • Alice: That's not very nice!

  • Neil: I know. But it's great TV. That's what chat shows are all about, isn't it?

  • Alice: Well, I don't agree, Neil!

  • A chat show, by the way, is a TV or radio programme where a host

  • the person who presents the showtalks to guest celebrities about various topics.

  • And what makes a good interview is the subject of today's show.

  • Neil: So what's a good interview technique, Alice?

  • Alice: Well, asking open questions

  • questions the celebrities can't easily respond to with a short answer.

  • Open questions give them the chance to talk and possibly reveal some juicy details about themselves!

  • Neil: Juicy details means information you find interesting because it's exciting or shocking.

  • Alice: Yes. So let's test your interviewing skills, Neil.

  • Ask me something... see if you can get some juicy details.

  • Neil: OK... Hmm... How much do you weigh?

  • Alice: How much do I weigh?

  • Neil: Yeah.

  • Alice: How much do you weigh? Look, that's a closed question

  • you're going to get a short answer and no juicy details!

  • And more importantly, Neil, it's a rude question!

  • Neil: OK ... bad choice. Sorry.

  • But your reaction was juicy ... you got pretty hot under the collar

  • and that means embarrassed or angry!

  • I'll try to think of a better question to ask you before the end of the show.

  • Alice: Alright then. Now, since you aren't good at asking questions, perhaps you can answer one instead.

  • Who developed a method of questioning around two and a half thousand years ago

  • that aims to discover hidden truths? Was it...

  • a) Hippocrates? b) Socrates?

  • Or c) Aristotle?

  • Neil: Well, I don't know much about ancient history so I'm going to guess c) Aristotle.

  • Alice: Well, we'll find out if you picked the right answer later on

  • but now let's listen to Larry King talking about the secret of his successful career as a TV chat show host.

  • Can you spot a word that means to get or produce?

  • Larry King: If you ask good questions and you elicit thoughtful answers

  • you learn more about the person.

  • If the interview's hard ... if I begin by saying,

  • "Why did you do that?" I'd make you defensive.

  • That may be thrilling television, but you don't learn a lot.

  • I learned that the more I drew back, asked good questions, listened to the answers,

  • cared about the guest ... you make the camera disappear.

  • Neil: The word Larry King used is... elicit.

  • Alice: Right. And you elicited a defensive reaction from me when you asked a not very

  • thoughtful question about my weight.

  • Defensive means protecting yourself from criticism or attack.

  • Neil: OK, I wouldn't make a good chat show host then.

  • Alice: You're right there. So good interviewers draw backor move away

  • from being the centre of attention.

  • They're good listeners and care about their guests. Sound familiar?

  • Neil: Are you suggesting that you're a good interviewer?

  • Alice: Yup.

  • Neil: OK, well, so why aren't you a top chat show host, hmm?

  • What does Larry mean when he says you have to make the camera disappear?

  • Alice: It means to make the conversation real

  • as if you were chatting with a friendrather than performing to a TV audience.

  • But let's hear more from Larry King on the secret of his success.

  • Larry King: I don't want a "no". I don't want a "yes". I want a "why". So in other words,

  • I want to be a little kind of dumb.

  • My friend Herbie said the secret of my success is being dumb.

  • 'What do you mean by that?'

  • Neil: So you have to ask dumbor stupidquestions to make a great chat show host!

  • I knew it!

  • Alice: Maybe there's hope for you yet, Neil.

  • Neil: Charming.

  • Alice: Lovely. OK, here's the answer to today's quiz question. I asked:

  • Who developed a method of questioning around two and a half thousand years ago that aims to discover hidden truths?

  • Was it... a) Hippocrates? b) Socrates? Or c) Aristotle?

  • Neil: And I said c) Aristotle.

  • Alice: No, it was b) Socrates.

  • All three were famous Greek philosophers

  • but Socrates was the one who angered lots of important people by his probing

  • or investigativequestions

  • and this technique is called Socratic Dialogue.

  • Socrates lived from 469 to 399 BC and he influenced philosophy so much

  • that all previous thinkers have come to be known as Pre-Socratic.

  • Despite this he declared "All I know is that I know nothing".

  • Neil: Very noble. OK, a final question for you, Alice. What makes you happy?

  • Alice: Working with such a fantastic co-presenter, Neil.

  • Neil: That's nice! I'm embarrassed now.

  • Alice: Can you tell us the words we heard today?

  • Neil: Of course!

  • catch somebody off guard

  • chat show

  • host

  • open questions

  • juicy details

  • closed question

  • hot under the collar

  • elicit

  • defensive

  • draw back

  • make the camera disappear

  • dumb

  • probing

  • Alice: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • Please join us again soon.

  • Neil: Yes, do indeed!

  • Both: Bye.

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

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A2 UK alice chat show host juicy larry socrates

BBC 6 Minute English January 07, 2016 - Asking the right questions

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/12
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