How to talk to the media… How not to talk to the media

Here are two of my favourite recent video clips of people being interviewed by the media — one wins and one loses.

A colleague is doing her first ever media interview today, so this post is for her. It is about the balance between delivering a strong message and connecting with your audience.

The two video clips below show that it is not enough for an interviewee to be ‘on message’ and ready with the facts.

They must also believe in what they say, and they must never forget that they are talking not only to a reporter but — more importantly –to the journalist’s audience.

First up is Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party in the UK.

Someone clearly trained him. They will have told him to stick to his key message and not to stray elsewhere.

Miliband did as he was told but he sounds more like a paranoid android than a political personality who wants to lead a nation.

He made the critical error of respecting his spin doctor but not his public audience. FAIL.

Second up is activist Jesse LaGreca, who is part of the Occupy Wall Street protest underway in the United States.

In just two minutes of talking he lands so many punches. His soundbites might be well practised but it is his sense of confidence in those messages that carries the interview.

But even more. He knows exactly who he is talking to… the viewers of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. So compared to the Miliband interview, this should be a WIN.

Except Fox News did not broadcast this interview. Thankfully our beautiful Internet did.

[Update: if you do need to talk to the media, I recommend this great list of tips [PDF] from the media team at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. It is full of great advice about how to prepare for an interview]

2 thoughts on “How to talk to the media… How not to talk to the media

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