Whether it was media fatigue (as was claimed), or lack of preparation, one thing’s for sure, Diane Abbott’s recent radio interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari made for entertaining viewing, for all the wrong reasons. Her fumbling of words and miscalculation of figures on how much the Labour Party plans to spend on 10,000 new police officers was the last thing the Labour party needs as June’s snap election places it directly into the full glare of the UK’s media.
As a B2B PR agency, media training is an essential starting point for any new PR campaign. And Diane Abbott’s car crash of a radio interview is a harsh reminder of the importance of ensuring an organisation’s spokespeople are fully trained and prepared to handle any tricky or leading questions that an interviewer puts their way.
Now, in her role as shadow home secretary, I think we can safely assume that Diane Abbott has been put through her paces with some hard hitting media training. There’s no denying that a live interview can be stressful, but whatever her reasons for fumbling the LBC interview, she clearly wasn’t putting her training into practice.
Aside from the embarrassment the interview has clearly caused both to Diane and her party, she failed to deliver on two of the key reasons to do a live media interview in the first place. Firstly, her gaff did nothing to instil any confidence in listeners on her ability to perform confidently in the role of home secretary; and secondly, she totally blew her opportunity to relay her key messages and mission statement to the audience. Sadly for Diane the only thing listeners took away from the interview was the mess she’d made of it.
And, let’s not forget another epic media training fail from earlier this year when during a BBC Breakfast interview, a professor was right in the middle of delivering his views on South Korea when his cute kids decided to gate crash his big moment. The interview went viral due to its comedy value, but can anyone actually remember why he was being interviewed in the first place?
Whether it’s making sure you’ve got your facts and figures at your fingertips or that any potential disturbances are well out of the way pre-interview, there are a host of tips and techniques that company spokespeople can adopt to ensure their media interviews go without a hitch. Take a look at the Skout blog throughout May for some tricks of the trade on how to approach media interviews and get the most out of media relations.