Tales of our Time: Question Time
Michael Hayman | 9 September 2021
Podcast host Michael Hayman recollects the conversations that have made him stop and think.
This piece originally appeared in Country & Town House September/October 2021.
‘Does anyone have any questions for my answers?’ These are the words often attributed to the legendary US diplomat Henry Kissinger who once famously opened a White House press conference thus.
Think about it for a moment. Whatever you ask, I have a message and I am going to say it. For decades this style of message control has been the playbook for the powerful and to my mind there are a lot of problems with it, especially now.
First and foremost because the many challenges facing the world demand that we think about what it is that we are being asked and that we respond with authentic answers, not oft-repeated messages.
The art of the question – you know the one, the one that gets you to sit up and think, drop the stump speech and provide an answer that really matters to you. It’s been a quest for me to help make this happen in a course of interviews with an incredible cast of characters.
“To paraphrase, interviews are like a box of chocolates; you never know how you’re going to feel about who you meet or what you might learn from them.”
It’s the podcast I present, and it’s called Change Makers. Think The Canterbury Tales for a digital age. Then: the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Now: the campaigners, the creators, the connectors and contrarians. Fresh ideas and inspirational life stories from people making a difference, a tapestry of tales of our time and stories to inspire.
It is a collection of conversations that seeks to capture something of the radically diverse conditions in which we live today – from activists seeking social justice to climate campaigners, inspiring entrepreneurs and Nobel laureates. The result is a platform for people with a passion to delve into what makes them tick and the joy, difference and contribution this empowers them to bring to the world.
One of the things I love about the conversations is challenging my own pre-conceived perceptions. To paraphrase, interviews are like a box of chocolates; you never know how you’re going to feel about who you meet or what you might learn from them.
The unexpected turns are those that keep you thinking on your feet. As the interviewer you need to follow the answer, wherever that might take you.
One enduring trait I have learned along the trail is that