The clip of Professor Robert Kelly’s children bursting into the room during a BBC interview has been doing the rounds on social media over the past week. It’s now had hundreds of millions of views – and serves as a necessary reminder on how easily a big interview can go wrong, regardless of how much preparation you’ve done. However, even if an unexpected interruption throws you off course, it doesn’t mean the entire interview is doomed.
Here are our top three tips on how to remain on message in the face of adversity:
1. Arguably the most vital thing to remember when an interview isn’t going your way is not to lose your rag. An audience is much more likely to sympathise with you if you remain calm and good natured in the face of an unexpected twist. Showing frustration or coming across as irritated will result in you losing your audience’s sympathy – or, worse, becoming a laughing stock.
2. Laughter or showing your humorous side can help you to ease the tension when an interview takes a wrong turn. It shows you are a human, and allows you to steer the coversation back more easily. But make sure you have gauged the tone of the interview first — bursting out laughing when you’re discussing a serious matter will have its own negative repercussions, and won’t curry any favour with the viewing public.
3. Bridging between two subjects allows you to move the conversation on from an unexpected question or situation, whilst remaining calm and confident. This skill is easily taught by a good media trainer. It allows you to shift the interview back to your own agenda, and in most cases the interviewer will allow this to happen.
When you’re in front of a live camera, the risk of something going wrong is relatively high. It’s important not to go into such interviews expecting it to go exactly to plan. Questions you weren’t expecting can be asked, fire alarms can go off and, as we saw last week, unexpected faces can appear in the background. Being ready to respond to such issues is what seperates a polished media handler from an amateur.
For more information on the media training provided by Rampart PR, click here.