California’s Gold was a show on Californian Public TV in which a genial host visited little-known points of interest in the state and interviewed the locals as if chatting on a back porch. The cheerful, neighborly host was Huell Howser. He passed away on January 6.
As host of California’s Gold, Huell taught us all kinds of things about California, but he also taught us about how to interact with people. As host of California’s Gold, he practiced the Golden Rule, treating everyone with consideration, and often as if they were long time friends. He showed us how the ordinary could be extraordinary. Huell didn’t interview people. It was more like having a conversation with old friends.
Huell had a way of drawing people out by asking them, “Tell me more about that” but he never seemed nosey or intrusive. The people we met on California’s Gold seemed fascinating because Huell always seemed fascinated by them. He discovered their passions and shared their lives and love of life. He had a precious gift that we all should emulate–a genuine interest in others.
Huell was charming and seemed charmed by those he met. He was always enthusiastic about his interviewees no matter what. During one episode we met a person who created art from laundry lint. He mirrored the artist’s enthusiasm and his viewers were introduced to the idea that artists can find ways to express themselves with any medium available.
My husband acts like Huell Howser whenever he meets someone new. He is friendly and asks questions to continue the conversation. We can all learn from Huell Howser and use his techniques when speaking with others. When you are genuinely interested in people you will no longer be self-conscious or shy. When you are sincere, others will gravitate to you. As Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People points out “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Huell Howser will be missed. But he left us with something precious–an example of how to make others feel important and interesting. There is no greater gift to pass on, and no better way to be remembered.
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career navigator who helps creative people succeed. She is a frequent speaker at colleges and conferences and recruits for animation, visual effects, design firms and other creative companies. If you want to reach her for recruiting, personal career coaching, or presentations, email her at PamRecruit@q.com.  You can also connect with her on Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/pamelathompson , Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PamRecruit  and Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/PamRecruit