No Comment Is Really "Off The Record"
Sometimes the news happens by mistake.
Here are some examples of people who forgot the microphone was on, and became the story themselves! Keep reading for three simple tips so you can avoid being caught out.
Ken Clarke and Theresa May
Recently, veteran British MP Ken Clarke, was in a Sky news studio to comment on the Conservative leadership race to replace outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron, when he gave a little more than he bargained for.
While chatting with someone else in the studio off-air, he made some unflattering off-the-cuff remarks about his party colleagues and leadership hopefuls.
Does anyone remember what his original interview was meant to be about? Of course not. His comments soared around the world as he described the future British PM as "a bloody difficult woman to work with."
Nobody Is Immune
He's far from the first. Who can forget 2009 when President Barack Obama called Kanye West a "jackass" for his behaviour at the MTV Music Awards. Reverend Jesse Jackson wishing he could 'neuter' the then Senator Obama. Even New Zealand's own Paul Henry can forget about the microphones and they're part of his job!
Importance of Media Training
Christchurch business owners are asked to comment in the media for all sorts of reasons. How will larger trends are affecting your Christchurch business locally?
How will central or local government plans affect your sector?
Perhaps they're responding to your media release ?
Here's how to keep them on message avoid becoming the story yourself.
1. All Microphones Are Live
As soon as you see a microphone treat it as though it's on and recording, no matter what the journalist said. Often it will be live before you realise so the journalist can obtain sound levels for a good recording.
2. Be Friendly, Yet Professional
Talking on camera or on the radio is not everyone's cup of tea. In fact lots of Christchurch business owners get really nervous. A good journalist will try to make you feel comfortable and relaxed so they get a better interview. There's nothing wrong with that!
Remember Number 1, treat all microphones as live, and be careful about getting too friendly. On those occasions Ken Clarke and Barack Obama probably relaxed a little too much and lost some of their professionalism.
In Ken Clarke's case it may have been a little bit of bravado or showing off to prove he was a good inside commentator and should be asked back again? It's fine to be friendly, but stay professional.
3. Stay On Message
Remember what you're talking about, and don't get sidetracked. If you have time, try practicing the interview with someone else beforehand so you can prepare. Know what key messages you want to get across and stick to them.
While journalists do wield a lot of power, they can't force you to be interviewed or comment on something you don't want to. Just stick to your key messages and avoid being drawn off topic.
It seems simple, but too often people forget the microphone is there, think the journalist is their best friend, or want to come across as more knowledgeable or important than they actually are.
Stick to these key points to keep the story the story, so you don't end up as a gaffe that goes around the world. For help with media training, or preparing for an interview to avoid becoming the news yourself, contact Inform PR.
If you're looking for ways to make your business stand out and get noticed, you've come to the right place!