One of the most talked about videos that rocketed to viral stardom last week was a professor’s live BBC interview being perfectly gate-crashed by his children bursting into the room.
Professor Robert Kelly, an expert on Korean politics, literally became an Internet sensation within hours as the video was shared (and enjoyed) globally across social media channels.
Now, I have no doubt that Prof Kelly is skilled in the old media interview and, like any good interviewee, had spent some time preparing for his live slot, but sometimes those best laid plans can’t cover every eventuality.
However, with his cool and calm exterior and a little bit of a smile thrown in, his reaction to the unrehearsed situation was perfect before returning seamlessly to discussing the more serious issue of the impeachment of South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye.
It was a great demonstration that live interviews, whether on television or radio, do not always go to plan but it absolutely highlighted the importance of preparation.
Having media trained a wide range of leaders from oil and gas professionals to airport staff, bookmakers and even the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, I can assure you there is one key element in media interviews that is crucial across the board. Whatever your industry, whatever your subject and no matter how many times you’ve done it before, preparation is a must.
As a former broadcast journalist, I would have been relieved at Prof Kelly’s relaxed reaction to the impromptu additional guests and as a media professional who manages company reputations, I would have been satisfied that his professionalism won him fans rather than ridicule, hence saving his reputation.
That is a lesson to be learned by any professional facing the media. If you are faced with a difficult situation, or indeed difficult questions, your approach has the potential to either boost or ruin your organisation’s reputation. And reputation is priceless.
During our interactive media training sessions, we put our delegates through their paces, we put them out of their comfort zone and we challenge them to improve their performance, but I can guarantee that every single person who invests in media training leaves feeling much more confident in their abilities to deal with difficult situations.
Be prepared sits at the very top of my recommendation list in media training. The more prepared you are, even if something goes wrong or you are interrupted by impromptu guests, you will very quickly be able to get back on track and focus on delivering your key messages.
An invitation to represent your organisation professionally in the media can be a fantastic PR opportunity but if you are ill prepared it could leave your company’s reputation in tatters.
As they say, it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it and with today’s fast paced online media world, you really don’t want to become an Internet sensation, like Prof Kelly, but for the wrong reasons!
Be confident. Be calm. Be trained by Frasermedia.