Mishal Husain on ‘The Skills’, and what every woman needs to know

Mishal Husain

Mishal Husain on ‘The Skills’, and what every woman needs to know

03 October 2018

Anandi Shah

Millions of people in the UK are familiar with Mishal Husain, from hearing her present BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in the morning, to watching her share the latest headlines on BBC News at night.

What they may not know, however, is that the successful broadcaster and journalist has added another string to her impressive bow; Husain is the author of the new book, The Skills: From First Job to Dream Job – What Every Woman Needs to Know.

Husain appeared at the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival to talk about the book and the wider issues it explores, as well as her own journey to journalism success.

And that journey has not always been an easy.

“Many of us in this room come from an Asian background,” Husain said. “For me, I think there was an element of my background, where I was brought up to be understated and modest about what I have done, that actually did prevent me from putting myself forward to the extent that I needed to.

“I had to learn a lot of this over time, and I wish I had learned it earlier on.”

Husain was in conversation with Bee Rowlatt, a writer, journalist and broadcaster.

Watch our interview with Mishal Husain below

The Skills is, in part, a response to this. Husain felt compelled to write the book to pass on some of the things she learned the hard way, so others won’t have to.

One example the author touched on was nerves; it is normal to be nervous sometimes in our jobs, especially when taking on new challenges beyond our comfort zones.

“One of the reasons I wrote the book is that often people would say ‘you must never get nervous doing what you do.’

“This question really started to bother me.”

For Husain, if people think that only those who never get nervous can do jobs such as journalism, “that is a problem for society, because too many people are then excluding themselves” from such vocations.

Husain gave a thought-provoking example of when she used to present a programme, and someone would congratulate her on the delivery, saying it was good. She would reply with a question: “do you think so?”

A better response? “Just say thank you!”

The fascinating and uplifting discussion was part of the festival’s Day of Celebrating Women, held in partnership with PAWA.

Watch the discussion in full

There’s much more to come in this year’s Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival. See the full line-up here