A Tale of Three Web Talkshows. Spoiled for Choice

27 May,2020


By Sanjeev Kotnala


News and notifications on webinars, interview-based talkshows, short courses, streaming discussions and dialogues have been invading my inbox ever since the Lockdowns kicked in. Two of three emails in the inbox are about invitations, registrations, subscriptions or access to an earlier event.


The inbox is like the snake island, full of waiting web-based shows. I, the migratory bird am resting on it, during my onwards journey, unaware of what the show will present. I have watched many shows live, some recorded and few I have closed after a few minutes as they failed to engage me.


One is bound to make errors in choosing events, shows, webinars and courses to attend. Stop blaming the system and the people managing these events. Remember, it is you who is responsible for the experience.


The organisers are merely pursuing the organisational strategies of lead generation, image correction or information sharing. You decide to attend them based on your biased understanding of the calibre, capability, capacity and expectations from these events. This understanding itself is a result of your perceptions. Sometimes, it is okay to be emotionally lead. Mistakes happen. After all, the reality is adulterated with perceptions.


No, I am not fully holding you responsible. The trap of topic-person-platform fit is a big bait. So it is natural to register. Making the wrong choice is a crime. However, when you don’t learn and end up attending yet another disappointing event, the fault lies with you.

In the last two weeks, I watched three branded web shows. All presented by well-known persons in advertising and marketing.


Friday’s Live with Raj Nayak.

The inaugural edition had this delightful conversation with Jill Majeski. A free-flowing conversation with Anil Kapoor was next. I loved it. There was simplicity and openness that I enjoyed. If you have not watched, do find time to view it. Next was Poonam Mahajan. Poonam is not the candidate I would want as a guest. And then last week we had Faye D’Souza, a brilliant journalist and activist. It is different that I refused to watch it as I do not like her style of journalism. However, I watched it on YouTube. Somewhere I realised, I am watching, Friday’s Live purely based on my expectations from Raj Nayak. It was the wrong thing to do.


A talk show is like clapping, it resonated when partners are on the same frequency. Raj brings a positive feel to everything. He is digging for learnings. However, the audience on the ringside wants to see every side of the personality. Failures and setbacks make the character seem more humane and likeable. Goodness alone will not have enough buyers.


Bollywood Talkies with Outlook.

Bollywood Talkies, is a show where Bollywood biggies are in discussion with Mitrajeet Bhattacharya. The title sets the tone and defined coordinates. The first talk with Neeraj Pandey was phenomenal. Mitrajeet raised right set of logically flowing open-ended questions. The conversation allowed Neeraj to sketch the story in his own style.


Kabir Khan was the next guest. Expectations were high. Everyone waiting for his upcoming film – ’83’. The show was okay. And then last week my current favourite Taapsee Pannu was the guest.


Now, I was watching because of the guest, and it did not matter who the host was. The show kept me engaged. Keep the good thing going!


Streaming with Sonal Dabral.

This one totally sucked me in.  Streaming with Sonal Dabral. For me, it was a semi-professional class. There was innovation/solution finding, passion and detail in work discussed. Professionally and personally, it was worth my time. The guest and host were absolutely comfortable in their shared space. The discussion smooth and straight. No pressure of time. It was like having someone for a cup of tea. The guest had complete freedom in term of time and space. The presenter only waited like a pinball player, keeping the ball in play without interfering with the narration. It was a terrific two episodes, and then I missed the next episode. Think I will be back watching the next one.


All three talkshows have been promising. They do overlap in terms of content and audience, and that is something the host have to look at. The guest list and sequencing will impact the success of these brands.


I will preferably prioritise Sonal Dabral over Mitrajit Bhattachary and Raj Nayak in that order. I know I will lose interest when the show starts being restrictive in style and probe. Remember I am trading my time with content. This is my current choice and is completely biased by the guest the show has.


Well, I will listen to anyone talking with Javad Akhtar, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajkumar Rao, Sunny Leone, KK Menon, Kangana Ranaut, Deepika Padukone, Mahesh Bhat and Aayushman Khurana. I have another list across creative fields and in politics maybe one or two.


We all know the biases our choices, past experience and future expectations. They must exist for us to be human. But, still, if we have a terrible experience in webinars, we must evaluate our choices and decision-making processes.


Sanjeev Kotnala is a senior business strategist and educator. He writes weekly for MxMIndia. Sometimes, like this week, even more. His views here are personal


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