English-speakers are really spoilt in Switzerland, more than any other language group. The locals gladly switch to English at the first opportunity, call centres for banks and insurance companies have English-speaking operators, most websites have an English page, and the state even produces much of its official documentation in English.
Of course that makes it harder to learn the national languages but most of the time it’s an advantage. I’ve written before about the challenges of being a non-native speaker when you live in a foreign country. My language ability varies, mainly depending on levels of confidence and tiredness in a given situation. That’s why is was such a breakthrough for me to accept my first television interview in German and to get through the interview in one piece!
This time last week I was googling tips to prepare for a television interview. Now, the interview is behind me and it’s a huge relief because everything went well. Not that I didn’t make any language mistakes but I managed to make my points clearly and calmly. The 25-minute discussion was broadcast yesterday by Zurich television station Telezüri. The host was Hugo Bigi and I was joined on the Talk Täglich show by fellow Bergli Books writer Wolfgang Koydl, author of Switzerland: A Cartoon Survival Guide. Above is a clip from the interview, and you can view the full programme on this link.
The Telezüri interview was a real case of stepping outside my comfort zone. It was daunting but extremely rewarding. Speaking in public is challenging for many of us, whether it is giving a presentation in work or asking a question in a lecture hall. One of the positive outcomes of writing The Naked Swiss has been that I have been forced to practice public speaking. Now I am at the point that I really enjoy it. It is a privilege to be given a platform to express your ideas, and I am glad to have overcome my fears, as a woman, as a semi-introvert and finally, as a foreigner, so that I can speak up and be heard.
7 thoughts on “My Swiss TV debut on Telezüri”
Congratulations, Clare. I watched a snippet of the interview and you really seem to be holding your own. I also found it interesting as, although I have some very basic German, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Swiss German before and it does sound very different. It’s great that there’s such a buzz about your book.
Thanks, Anne. True, many Germans can’t make head nor tail of Swiss German. All in all a good experience but one of those experiences you are happy to have behind you 🙂
I watched most of the interview. Of course I had absolutely no idea what anyone was saying, but you were seamless with little hesitation and displayed total confidence in transitioning to another language. Fantastic! You were great and how great an opportunity to learn another language and dive into what is normally a stressful broadcasting environment for someone who doesn’t do that normally. Ten cheers for Clare! You have motivated me to brush up on American Slang which, for me, is a whole other language, but one I should be able to master. Thanks for sharing….hope your book is moving well! Best, Marc.
Thanks for your ten cheers and interest, Marc! It has been great to have the chance (obligation) to learn German and that interview was the ultimate test. Book is selling well, second print run coming out before the end of the year. Still plugging away on the fiction front with various hopes and plans. We’ll see what happens … Nice to hear from you again, Clare
It was fun watching your video even though I couldn’t understand a word. I would be terrifically frightened to give a TV interview even in English. Congratulations on overcoming your fear and doing such a good job. It’s wonderful that you not only have stepped out of your comfort zone but you also enjoy it.
Mighty impressed, Clare! When I think back to when you visited me after being in Fribourg for only a few months and how lost you were in German at that time. Now here you are, holding your own on TV, in a bilingual interview situation (I had to really concentrate to understand the interviewer’s Swiss-German!) and remaining as cool, calm and charming as ever. So proud to have you as a friend and to have known you for so long now (going back to when we both spoke miserable German!). High time we met up again… Mx
Thanks for your lovely, kind words, Marius. Let’s make a pact to meet before the year is out!! Long overdue xx