One of the things I find very important when I moderate or interview is to be present in the discussion or talk myself with my head but also with my heart and my emotions. Which very often mean that I also think about helping people to feel more relax even with a lot of people listening when it is life or a camera on their faces. I also find it important to protect my guests for unforeseen things that happen. Those might be technical, but might also be emotional.
Depending on the topic, my own emotions might be more or less involved because of what I experienced already myself in life. But as a moderator and interviewer I find it important to be strong enough so the people can rely on me but I also want them to be comfortable to be vulnerable, because that are the moments that we really are able to go that mile further than a regular discussion about facts and figures.
I do not like journalists that see an interview as a fight… it is about your guest in the first place, make them shine, it is not about you, your thoughts and your feelings and ideas. However you are very special in an interview because you have the power to ask the questions, the right ones, at the right moment. So preparation is key, but you need to be willing to forget about your preparation because of the things that happen, the energy during the interview. To feel that energy you need to be there with all your emotions.
Tonight might be one of those nights where I have a particular job in staying strong myself. In the summer of 2020 Peter de Prins, entrepreneur and professor at Vlerick Business School decided to leave this world. Today I am hosting and moderating the panel about suicide prevention before the benefit concert starts, directed by one of the good friends of Peter, David Ramael.
Today is also Suicide Prevention Day, which makes me think about the friends I lost, but even more about the ones I love, that are still there however they once thought of leaving us.
This taboo about suicide is real, you will recognize this when you lost someone, or had/have someone amongst your family or friends who is suffering of a mental illness right now. Suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition.
So we need to raise awareness on this stigmatized topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we also need to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. We need to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
I am very grateful for the people that will be on stage answering my questions tonight,
I will do my best to find the best balance and keep my own emotions under control and be the lighthouse in this conversation.