There is a lot of bad media training out there.
I am quietly working away on a damp summer morning when I hear an interview with Ocado’s boss on Radio 4 Today programme. Suddenly I am overwhelmed with that ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells feeling’. I live in fear of turning into my mother, who spends several minutes most days shouting at the Today presenters or guests.
How can clever senior people, running successful companies, not realise that to go on a current affairs programme and simply parrot the message ‘we provide a phenomenal service to customers’ – means they are making fools of themselves.
Worse, as I write these words, I am sure some PR person is patting the offender (who I am not naming out of courtesy) on the back, saying ‘well done’ – you landed the ‘phenomenal’ key message four times.
Ocado won a precious 3 minute slot on Radio 4’s Today programme at about 7.15am, close to peak listening time. It was there because the company has done a deal with Morrisons that appears to have ruffled the feathers of its key existing client Waitrose.
You can listen to the programme here until 27th May but will have to play with the cursor to find the slot 1 hour 14 minutes in.
I do not blame the Ocado boss for his lamentable performance, I blame his PR team and whoever trained him. He almost certainly was trained a) because most senior business people are and b) because no one would naturally conduct an interview in that way.
Good media training ensures you articulate your point of view in an accessible and credible way, whilst avoiding any bear traps. Part of being credible means you must come across with both warmth and authority. If you are a business leader there should also be some evidence of intelligence and I recommend a gracious attitude to those that don’t agree with you.
Bad media training encourages you to close down all intelligent questions and parrot some bland marketing message. This leaves a sour taste in the listener’s mouth and also probably ensures you won’t be invited back on the programme.