New Press Conference Playbook?

Have you Spotted the New Press Conference Playbook?

Playing with one of the generative AI apps last week I put in: how to run a good press conference. In a few seconds it generated a creditable if bland 500 words which basically covered be prepared, maintain your composure and be respectful to the journalists.

Three protocols that were exactly the opposite of what the Australian Rugby Coach Eddie Jones did at an informal press conference as he departed Sydney airport for the Rugby World Cup last week.

When this came up on my newsfeed I was really puzzled as to why someone leaving for a major competition should break the rules so spectacularly and unnecessarily. It did not seem to me that the journalists were being even the slightest bit provocative.

Asking around, I got a couple of insights from friends who follow sport more closely than I do. One said:

“Eddie has always been a feisty devil and their results have been poor since he took over. I think he is using the press conference to build a siege mentality and try and unite the squad against the press!”

And another:

“Jones is an increasingly curmudgeonly figure who after a previously successful career has had a string of bad results in the past few years. He’s shooting the messenger. Whether that’s a conscious attempt to establish esprit de corps – or populist politician style – isn’t clear. I suspect he’s just a misery guts who is losing the plot. “

Both my commentators, it seemed, thought the combative tone may have been planned.

The reference to populist politician style sent me back to my new toy and I asked what is Donald Trump’s Press conference style?  And got this list:

– Combative tone
– Lack of decorum
– Dominating the spotlight
– Informal – Trump’s press conference style was freewheeling and casual
– Attacking both journalists and adversaries

Pretty much exactly the style adopted by Jones. It seems there is an alternative Press Conference Playbook out there, and the Eddie Jones presser was just evidence that this is gaining ground way beyond a few populist politicians.

If you would like training for your spokespeople on how to handle a formal or informal press conference, call 020 7099 2212 or email us on All our sessions are bespoke, so we will design a training specifically to fit your organisation’s requirements.

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