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What I Learned Co-Hosting SassBites

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SassBites is a weekly, lunchtime videocast of Sass topics, hosted by Micah Godbolt. The casts are great. Micah talks about Sass, demos Sass in various flavors (beginner through advanced), and invites other Sass people to talk about and demo their Sass projects.

When Micah decided to host a series highlighting women in Sass, he sent request out for a female co-host. I was intrigued, convinced I would pretty much suck at it, and willing to try. This would be a fine way to step outside of my comfort zone, a goal I have for every day.

Of the six Micah scheduled for the Women in Sass series, I was able to co-host four of them. I missed two of them due to scheduling difficulties.

The whole co-hosting was a good experience. Here's what I learned from it:

  1. If you're not post-editing your recording, production is easier.
  2. Don't pick your nose on camera, if you're not post-editing.
  3. You will always be able to find a bad screenshot, so don't worry about making an odd face. Maybe this should be: so make the odd face anyway.
  4. Don't interrupt the speakers. Oh, gosh, that was awful of me. First time I did it, I wanted a giant UNDO button. Yeah, hosts are there to get the interviewees to talk, let them talk.
  5. Preplanning is key. Have show notes. Prep the interviewee with questions that will be asked. You're not trying to make your guests look bad, you want them to look wonderful! (And if you are trying to make them look bad, you're an ass, go do something else for a living.)
  6. Watch / listen for your ums and uh-huhs that steal the focus. This is an issue with Google Hangouts: it changes the screen focus to the person speaking. If you're saying only "Uh-huh," you don't want the focus on you, so limit those.
  7. Something will always happen to the schedule, just go with it.
  8. If you're co-hosting, let the host lead. If you're new, let the experienced one show you the ropes.
  9. Good internet is key to good online interviews. If you have sucky internet, your view will lag and your questions will lag and, oh, boy is that a hard interview.
  10. Transitions from topic to topic are hard, try to plan ahead. Half listen to the guest talking, partially note the show notes recalling the next topic coming up, and transition when the time is right.
  11. Let the interviewee speak, but keep her on topic.
  12. Live interviews rule.
  13. Q & A can help an interview, but you need to use it. Involving the community is fantastic.
  14. Appreciate the experience.

And the biggest lesson learned: if you are going to co-host an established series, you can't do much better than working with Micah. He's encouraging. He's positive. He mentors well. He inspires. "A++++++++++++++ would co-host with again."