Friday, April 17, 2009
I'm just finishing Steve Martin's Book, Born Standing Up. Towards the end of the second to last chapter he pays tribute to Johnny Carson. He describes him as reserved but gracious. Johnny treated all of his guests according to what they deserved and in such a way that would allow the audience to see their best qualities. He knew how to set someone up and how to bail them out. He was, no surprise, the ultimate host.
In any situation, be aware of when the focus is and isn't on you. And be on the ball when it comes to casting others in the best light. At the same time, be funny and keep things lively. A good host is someone people want to be around. He is likable and magnetic, but more important than that, he is gracious and puts everyone at ease.
At the table or the bar you can't go wrong giving a good lead in. Ask someone to tell that good story not everyone else has heard. Bend the conversation towards common interests. And above all, be composed.