Archive for the ‘Media Training: Good Interview Examples’ Category
Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals’ 19-year-old rookie outfielder, hit a homerun on Tuesday night to help his team beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
He hit another homerun after the game.
During a post-game press availability, a reporter pointed out to Harper that people can drink legally at age 18 in Canada, so he wondered whether he might celebrate by drinking his favorite Canadian beer.
That was a silly question for at least a few of reasons. First, answering that question could create negative headlines, such as “Underage Nationals Star Names His Favorite Beer.” Second, as a Mormon, Harper isn’t supposed to drink at all. Third, what type of question is that, anyway?
Harper reacted perfectly, refusing the question and telling the reporter, “That’s a clown question, bro.” Priceless. It’s worth watching the brief exchange.
That clip brings up another important media management question: when is it appropriate for a PR handler to jump in and interrupt an on-camera interview?
You may have noticed that just after the question was asked, a PR rep standing off-camera interjected and told the reporter to “ask something else.” In this case, the interruption was unnecessary – Harper’s initial reaction made it clear that he wasn’t going to answer the question. But the P.R. rep’s instinct to jump in was right.
That goes against the advice I typically dispense on this blog. Generally speaking, I advise PR pros to avoid jumping in during live interviews. Doing so at the wrong time can create a much larger story, as illustrated by this infamous 2004 Meet the Press clip:
Still, there are moments when jumping in is the better of two options. In Mr. Harper’s case, the PR rep felt he had two choices: to allow Harper to answer the question and potentially embarrass himself and his team, or cut off the line of questioning and potentially take some heat for doing so. Especially given the irrelevant nature of the question, I’d argue the PR pro made the right choice. (I’m not sure I’d feel the same way if the reporter was asking about a legitimate scandal, instead.)
Of course, there’s a third and better choice than the two mentioned above: Give all of your players media training and trust that they’re able to handle these situations without needing outside help (I’m guessing that did happen in this case). Mr. Harper looked to have the interview under full control, meaning he was able to deflect the question and move on with ease.
In this case, his PR rep had reason to be confident enough to allow his well-prepared player to handle the situation alone, using the same skill he regularly demonstrates on the field.
A grateful h/t to @FitzFiles.
Tags: baseball, Bryce Harper, sports, Washington Nationals
Posted in Media Training: Good Interview Examples | 2 Comments »
I don’t care about Davy Crockett. I’ve never been much into American folk heroes, and most of what I know about Crockett comes from the hit 1950s song.
So why am I suddenly writing about Davy Crockett?
Last Thursday, historian Michael Wallis appeared on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart to discuss his new book, David Crockett: The Lion of the West. He managed to do the near-impossible – he captured my attention. And I wasn’t the only one to notice his terrific appearance: his book suddenly zoomed onto Amazon.com’s Top 50 list.
Here are six reasons Wallis was such an effective media guest – and what you can learn from his success.
1. He Loves Talking About His Topic: Wallis is clearly enchanted by his subject, and speaks about it with fascination. His contagious passion transferred from him to the audience, as evidenced by the studio audience’s enthusiastic reaction to his interview.
2. He Is Authentic: Wallis knows who he is. He appears comfortable in his own skin, and looks like he knows he belongs on that set. Rock stars and artists aside, few male media guests can pull off a giant green finger ring. Wallis can, because it seems completely consistent with his personality.
3. He Tells Great Stories: Many people can tell good stories, but few can tell complex stories – with the full power of delivery – in 30 seconds or less. Mr. Wallis gets to the heart of each story quickly, placing a premium on each word and taking advantage of every moment.
4. He Displays Humor: Wallis rolls with Jon Stewart’s questions and reacts with good humor when appropriate. He then quickly transitions into delivering a substantive answer. He also gets a couple of good one-liners off, including one about Congress that results in cheers from the live audience.
5. He Uses His Full Vocal Range: I envy Wallis’s perfect baritone, but he doesn’t rely solely on his mesmerizing low rumble. He varies his pace, volume, and pitch throughout the interview – and even introduces short pauses before delivering a well-timed punch line.
6. He Gestures Naturally: Wallis uses large, sweeping gestures to help make his point. He uses his hands as tools to help supplement his words; they are an essential part of his storytelling prowess. Wallis demonstrates that the Holy Grail of any media appearance is when a speaker’s words, voice, and body language work together in perfect alignment.
Do you want to be a better media guest or public speaker? Do you like free things? Sign up for our monthly email newsletter by entering your name in the upper right-hand corner of the blog.
Tags: David Crockett, good media interview, good media performance, jon stewart, media training tips, Michael Wallis, The Daily Show
Posted in Media Training: Good Interview Examples | 1 Comment »