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It’s tough under the media spotlight

Posted by putsimply on 16th April 2008

In my blog post at the end of last month I gave BA’s director of operations Gareth Kirkwood a slating over his performance in front of the TV cameras during the debacle at Heathrow T5.  I think I might owe him an apology, especially as the poor chap lost his job yesterday, think it’s safe to say that wasn’t on account of my comments though.

This past weekend I experienced the glare of the media spotlight for myself when five friends and I were interviewed by a Sky Sports TV crew outside Gloucester’s Kingsholm stadium before the televised Guiness Premiership rugby game against Saracens… and boy were we rubbish.

The subject of the interview – why the hell all of us were dressed as Elvis Presley (stag do in case you were wondering) and what we thought of Gloucester’s chances of winning the game – hardly the same as poor old Gareth who had to defend the fact that his all singing all dancing airport terminal was collapsing around his ears.

Now I along with two of the five friends work in PR and are well versed on media training theory like the ‘ABC of interviewing’:
– Answer the question
– Bridge to the key message
– Communicate using your soundbite

Nevertheless all our experience went out of the window under severe pressure (I still blame the hangover though) and we broke the golden rules of television interviews, namely:

1. Dress is  important. Avoid checks, stripes and small patterns as these are distorted by television pictures and stick to simple, clean cut, dark suits. Don’t let your attire distract the viewers attention away from what you are saying.

2. If possible, discretely display a company logo either in the background or on a tie pin.

3. Be relaxed and answer in full sentences

I did manage to pass rule number four though – “avoid fidgeting as this will annoy the cameraman who will have to keep reframing his shot” – I froze like a rabbit in the headlights.

Needless to say the interview didn’t see the light of day and my quest for a career as a sports pundit remains a pipe dream.