So it’s one thing to prepare a key message and weave it into a media interview…. it’s a whole new ball game (pardon pun) to do a Marshawn Lynch … but gee did he get worldwide attention and I think we all got the message! If you missed him take a look:
Recently Peta Credlin, well known in political circles as Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff made an unfortunate slip of the tongue when facing the media over a drink driving charge. I’ve watched this clip a few times just to make sure I didn’t miss something ….
She addresses the waiting media pack with what seems to be a prepared speech. She acknowledges her mistake, thanks police and the courts and then says ….
“Justice doesn’t have to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”
Watch the clip and see if you agree with me.
I’m sure it was an honest mistake.
Incredibly The Australian fixed up her gaffe and quoted her as saying “Justice doesn’t just have to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”
But when her boss and other politicians are so harshly judged and scrutinized by the media, I wonder why Ms Credlin”s mistake was not even mentioned and in the case of The Australian, her quote was doctored so that the mistake was rectified.
What do you think?
When it comes to media training there are loads of examples of what NOT to do. Politicians usually star in these blooper reels, followed by ill prepared business people and stupid sports stars.
I’m often asked for examples where interviewees have done particularly well … Where they have confidently delivered their key messages and yet remained authentic and believable.
John Borghetti, CEO of Virgin Australia, is one of my favourite media performers. He is calm, compelling and on message. Here is a link to a fairly relaxed interview with The Bottom Line.
I’ve also got to give a gold star to Olivia Wirth from Qantas. Even when under siege by the media she is able to stay calm and focused on her Qantas key messages.
And whilst politicians usually get a bad wrap I have to applaud Anna Bligh who went from villain to hero thanks to her media performance throughout the 2011 Queensland floods. It wasn’t enough to win her an election however I think people really respected her honesty and her leadership through what was a catastrophic time for Queensland.
Following Australia’s very own “Swim Gate” where a reluctant Emily Seebohm was pushed to speak out by journalists on team partying, stilnox abuse and bullying – have a look at this very awkward video posted on Youtube. Watch the body language between Emily and James. James also makes a rather unfortunate admission regarding his friendship with an infamous Australian tennis player.
I couldn’t resist posting this interivew. It’s game, set and match to Leigh Sales. Expect to be roasted if you don’t prepare for an interview and please don’t ever comment on something you know nothing about!
Even experienced media operators like The Wiggles need media training. Following the announcement that Sam Moran, AKA Yellow Wiggle, would be replaced by Greg Page (the original Yellow Wiggle) – the gang thought they’d make an appearance on the Today Show with Richard Wilkins. I guess Anthony and co thought Richard would go easy. He didn’t.
The lack of preparation for this interview is simply stunning. As far as awkward TV moments go – this is GOLD.
1. Even if the journalist is a friend, he/she still has a job to do.
2. Always prepare.
What’s the secret to being a great media spokesperson?
1. You need to be authentic.
2. You need to be an expert on the topic.
3. You need to tell the truth!
It’s that simple.
When it comes time to talk to a journalist hopefully you will have prepared. You will have constructed 3 or 4 key messages that will help get your point across succinctly and effectively. Then, once the interview starts, you should feel confident enough to really trust yourself to speak from the heart. Your key messages should just roll off the tongue and you should believe in what you’re saying.
If you are authentic your audience is more likely to engage with you. Whilst they may not agree, if they trust you then it follows that they will listen and consider your point of view.
But beware of spinning the truth. Audiences are more media savvy than ever and can detect a tall story from a mile away.
If you’ve made a mistake often the best way of minimizing more damage is by simply admitting the error and apologizing. But apologize properly. Don’t just utter the words. Say “I’m sorry” like you really mean it.
As a great example of what NOT to do, take a look at the clip below, which features the former CEO of BP. Note that this was just one of several media PR disasters that ultimately cost him his job.
A recent report on Lyme Disease for Channel 7′s Sunday Night highlighted the dangers of “over training” for media interviews. The spokesman for NSW Health, Dr Jeremy McAnulty was edited to show he repeated what was described in the story as a “well-rehearsed line” over and over again.
Journalists are very cynical about spokespeople who stick so closely to key messages that questions become obsolete.
I’ve attached a link to the Sunday Night story. Watch the way Channel 7 has edited Dr McAnulty. In my opinion Channel 7 has played a fair game. Dr McAnulty and other experts who face the media need to be careful about rote learning key messages prepared for them by PR consultants. Journalists are a wake up to the “stick to my message at all costs” school of media training.
Rachel Friend facilitates this four part webcast about the top tips for returning to school. This webcast was produced for the NSW Department of Education and Communities. Getting Off To A Great Start is the first chapter in the series and gives parents practical tips on how to get their child back into a school routine and ready for a great year of learning. For more information go to www.schoolatoz.com.au