This is excruciating, isn’t it?
You can feel Ed Miliband’s pain as he squirmed in his seat and struggled to answer the questions.
So where did he go wrong (if it isn’t completely, blindingly obvious?)
The first is pretty clear – lack of preparation.
Of course it’s obvious, but when such senior politicians, who have done 100s of interviews, who have, presumably, been media trained to the nth degree, who are intelligent, who have armed of advisers, so clearly have not prepared, then it is well worth repeating.
Whoever you are doing an interview with, even if it is the Bumblebee News, you need to anticipate all the questions which may come up, and be across all the key facts and background knowledge which you may need during your interview.
If a PR person, or an adviser, has written a briefing, read it and absorb it.
And if they haven’t – ask why not, and get them to do it PDQ. It is not just their responsibility, it is yours.
And you are the one that is going to end up with egg on your face if you get something wrong.
Secondly, don’t ever ever lie, bluff or make things up. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll be found out, especially in these days of the internet, wikipedia and social media.
And that is far far worse, as Ed Miliband discovered, than manning up and admitting you just don’t know.
The problem of course, if you do make a hash of an interview nowadays, it doesn’t just disappear into the ether. It’s there forever, to be googled and replayed and commented on at will, by people like me.
If you would like to learn how to avoid these mistakes, our media training courses could help. Contact us for more information on 020 8332 6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.