It’s not unusual to discover that spokespeople have no idea how their interview went because they didn’t watch it back. Confident spokespeople can (sometimes wrongly) assume they came across well and their messages hit their mark. Less confident spokespeople can (often wrongly) assume their interview was terrible and be put off accepting future interview opportunities. In both cases, their organisations lose out.
My advice to spokespeople and their comms teams is to make, or obtain, a recording of broadcast interviews (or copies of print/online pieces in which you are quoted) and review these with a critical eye. Only by spotting where things don’t work, can you possibly hope to improve a spokesperson’s performance. To any spokesperson that’s reluctant to undergo this constructive criticism, I would say to them and their comms team that it is:
- A non-negotiable part of being an effective spokesperson
- Guaranteed to make you a better spokesperson
- A de-briefing exercise undertaken by politicians and CEOs after major interviews to ensure maximum future impact
So, what questions should you be asking yourself when, horror of horrors, listening/watching back over your performance? Here are a few important ones:
- Did you sound/look relaxed and in control?
- Did you maintain eye contact with the journalist?
- Did you seem approachable, believable, likeable?
- Did you speak at a measured pace, taking a breath before each answer?
- Did you get a key message into every answer?