If you’ve ever seen a politician, entertainer or executive fumble their way through a broadcast interview, you know how truly awful it can be. The sputtering and sweating and awkwardness. And that’s just you being embarrassed for them. The person actually doing the interview is a terrible hot mess.
The best way to avoid this is with media training. However, if you’ve ever seen someone reciting talking points like a robot, then you know it’s almost equally painful to watch an on-camera interview being done strictly from memory.
The best scenario is having someone who can both stick to the agenda and inject some personality into what needs to be said. Just in the past week or so, we’ve had two examples of people who have been able to do that, much to our delight.
The first is Hillary Clinton, who made an appearance on The Colbert Report last night as part of her global promotional tour for her book Hard Choices. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a little more of Clinton’s personality. She’s got a hearty laugh, a quick wit, and she’s someone who’s used to speaking in front of cameras, large welcoming groups, and large not-so-welcoming groups. (Hillary!!!)
While it’s clear she was reading her lines last night, and maybe she doesn’t have the best comedic timing, the fact that she was game for playing along with Stephen Colbert shows she doesn’t take herself nearly as seriously as her opponents do or her resume would have you think. The whole thing was genuinely cute and in the end, it’s a great way to promote a book that we’ve already heard a whole lot about.
Our second example has been Chris Pratt. Star of the box office winner Guardians of the Galaxy, just about every appearance he’s made has generated a viral clip. Whether he’s talking about being naked on the set of Parks & Rec, French braiding an intern’s hair or rapping, it’s all incredibly charming. Certainly it helps that he’s as hot as all get out. But being funny, sweet and seemingly at ease puts everyone else at ease as well.
Not everyone will be this adept. But reminding clients to turn down the stress and speak from the gut should be as much a part of the media training process as anything else.