Before I start there is a bit of a caveat emptor here – I’m writing about media interviews and media training but I’ve only ever conducted one session of media training and sat in on, at most, just four more.
As PR has grown from a line item to something of (hopefully) more strategic importance, so has the need to deliver good interview.
Unfortunately, the media’s idea of a good interview (lots of contraversial soundbites) and the PR department’s idea of a good interview (lots of “on-message”, relatively neutral soundbites) were pretty irreconcilable.
However, I think that in an era of the democratisation of media where more and more people are being called for interviews, and not just from the C-suite, the media and those who consume the media are bored with stale old rent a quotes.
No longer can interviewees use the trusted “bridging” technique of half answering questions before diverting them to safer ground. First Michael Howard (then UK Home Secretary) and then Paul Martin (former Canadian PM) have both gotten into some serious hot water over this.
The ‘trick’, if you can call it that, is to be charming, intelligent, knowledgable and funny so you can appeal to those watching while answering the questions and telling your own story at the same time.
Tough isn’t it!
Here’s an example of a good interview: Oasis’ Noel Gallagher interviewed by Exclaim Magazine on a number of issues from Lars Ulrich to French speaking Canadians and piracy. He’s completely honest, very funny, answers all the questions and comes over as an all round good bloke.
One of the best quotes is
What are your feelings on piracy, internet or otherwise?
See, I like pirates. That’d be a good occupation, wouldn’t it? I’d like to have been a pirate, if I wasn’t a rock star. Some might say pirates are earlier day rock stars. Of course, on the sea. Fook internet piracy. How boring’s that? I just don’t think I have an opinion on that. We’ll leave that to Lars Ulrich. Make an arse of yourself. Hey, if it’s out there for free and you can find it, then good for you. To be quite honest, between me and you, can I say this off the record? I’ve got enough money. I don’t need any more. Lars Ulrich has got enough money. He don’t need anymore. Keith Richards or Paul McCartney have got more money than sense — look at the way they dress. It’s blatantly evident. We’re well paid, us successful people.
On the other side of the coin, here’s someone else being honest and being himself but coming off as ignorant and not the sort of person you’d want to associate yourself with.
Worst quote is
“We have a problem in this country with political correctness and bringing women into the game is not the way to improve refereeing and officialdom.
“It is absolutely beyond belief. When do we reach a stage when all officials are women because then we are in trouble?
Who would you prefer to be seen as?
*UPDATE* I only found some audio of the Noel Gallgaher interview! Click here for the interview and some nice live acoustic mash-ups of the brothers’ best songs. (Slide away is a personal favourite…)