How to avoid giving a 'car crash' interview

7 February 2022  |  News
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Three media interviews caught my eye in the last week. All are good case studies in how to be interviewed under pressure – either badly or very well.

It’s important to realise that what you say and how you carry yourself in a media interview are very important. There are consequences if it goes in the wrong direction. It can diminish the audience’s trust in you and who you represent, create confusion about what is actually true, and ultimately weaken your authority and damage your reputation.

Let’s start with Nadine Dorries MP on BBC Breakfast (5 February 2022):

What happened?

Nadine Dorries refused to engage with Charlie Stayt’s question: ‘Have you communicated with the Prime Minister in the last 24 hours?’ Responding with ‘Why? Why are you asking me that question?’ And the rest of the interview was just as awkward and uncomfortable to watch.

What can we learn from it?

Next we have Kwarsi Kwarteng MP on BBC Politics (6 February 2022):

What happened?

Kwarsi Kwarteng is asked why Prime Minister Boris Johnson had claimed that the Government has cut crime by 14 per cent, when this was not true. Mr Kwarteng attempted to explain that this was because there are different types of crime and the Prime Minister was referring more to ‘personal injury and crime in relation to individuals’, not crimes such as fraud and cybercrime. However, his explanation was disjointed and garbled, lacking clarity and facts.

What can we learn from it?

Our final example is somewhat different from the first two, but has a valuable lesson. It's Stephen Colbert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (4 February 2022):

What happened?

The pop star Dua Lipa was a guest on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They were discussing Dua’s upcoming podcast series and how she enjoys interviewing people. Stephen gave her the opportunity to ask him anything she wanted. She asks Stephen how his faith and his comedy overlap. Stephen’s on-the-spot response was a pithy, poignant and powerful testimony of his Christian faith.

What can we learn from it?

At Jersey Road PR, we offer training in media interviews and crisis communications. If this is something you think you need, let us know and we can arrange to chat with you. Contact Theresa Stone our Training and Development Manager at [email protected].

Written by Andrew Horton, Head of Content, Jersey Road PR.

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