Embracing Marketing Mistakes

Navigating Media Landmines: How to Turn Interview Disasters into Triumphs

December 04, 2023 Prohibition PR Season 1 Episode 14
Navigating Media Landmines: How to Turn Interview Disasters into Triumphs
Embracing Marketing Mistakes
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Embracing Marketing Mistakes
Navigating Media Landmines: How to Turn Interview Disasters into Triumphs
Dec 04, 2023 Season 1 Episode 14
Prohibition PR

Meet Guy Clapperton, a seasoned media trainer and journalist with a treasure trove of insights into the art of media interactions. Brace yourself for an enlightening discourse on media training, strategic communication, and the mastery of interviews. You'll discover how preparation, authenticity, and a clear narrative can make your media encounters not just successful, but also memorable.

We don't hold back as we delve into the world of media disasters and their victims, often politicians like Nadine Dorries who have tripped over their messaging. From the pitfalls of inaccurate statements to the rigors of facing the tenacious questioning styles of journalists like Jeremy Paxman and Piers Morgan, we unearth the importance of composed and effective messaging. Guy offers a unique perspective on how to avoid these common pitfalls, keep your cool, and maintain control of the narrative.

But there's more - we explore how to make interviews more engaging without sacrificing your key messages. Learn how to be interesting, how to use sound bites effectively, and why understanding your audience is key to a successful interview. We touch on the significance of body language and authenticity, and how the right balance can make your interviews more impactful. So lean in, listen, and let's navigate the challenging world of media interactions together with Guy Clapperton at the helm.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Meet Guy Clapperton, a seasoned media trainer and journalist with a treasure trove of insights into the art of media interactions. Brace yourself for an enlightening discourse on media training, strategic communication, and the mastery of interviews. You'll discover how preparation, authenticity, and a clear narrative can make your media encounters not just successful, but also memorable.

We don't hold back as we delve into the world of media disasters and their victims, often politicians like Nadine Dorries who have tripped over their messaging. From the pitfalls of inaccurate statements to the rigors of facing the tenacious questioning styles of journalists like Jeremy Paxman and Piers Morgan, we unearth the importance of composed and effective messaging. Guy offers a unique perspective on how to avoid these common pitfalls, keep your cool, and maintain control of the narrative.

But there's more - we explore how to make interviews more engaging without sacrificing your key messages. Learn how to be interesting, how to use sound bites effectively, and why understanding your audience is key to a successful interview. We touch on the significance of body language and authenticity, and how the right balance can make your interviews more impactful. So lean in, listen, and let's navigate the challenging world of media interactions together with Guy Clapperton at the helm.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

Follow Chris Norton:
X
TikTok
LinkedIn

Follow Will Ockenden:
X
LinkedIn

Follow The Show:
X
TikTok
YouTube

Speaker 1:

How do you stop your trainees or clients or marketing PR comms professionals from being boring in interviews but also getting across the key message?

Speaker 2:

I think you have to establish very firmly with them that they are there to be themselves. They really aren't there to be some sort of vanilla, as you put it, or corporate droid. That's a good question. I once media trained somebody who actually had anger management issues not that they told me that before I arrived and it's very big.

Speaker 3:

Let's flip that. Who's amazing at media interviews? Who do you see? That is just authentic, polished, just gets it right every time.

Speaker 2:

This. I'm going to look a bit anoraki here, so I'll apologize for that in advance, but the hype that Russell T Davis has managed to build up for the new Doctor who is just astonishing, given that the ratings were on the floor this time last year. Accidental leaks, which don't look terribly accidental to me.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Socially Unacceptable, the only podcast for marketers and communication professionals that celebrates the biggest mistakes and helps you learn their practical lessons so you can grow your brand quicker. We dive deep into the stories from well-known brands and expert marketers who've made those mistakes, learned their lessons and come back from adversity. Just in case this is your first episode, I'm your host, Chris Norton, and I'm joined by my good colleague, Will Ockenden. I've worked in PR and marketing for more than 25 years in a number of international agencies and I also taught public relations at a number of universities. But 13 years ago, I founded Prohibition to do PR differently, with a focus on business impact. Today, Prohibition is listed in the top 10 PR agencies in the north of the UK and turns over more than seven figures every year.

Speaker 1:

In this week's episode we have Guy Clapperton. Guy is an experienced media trainer and an award-winning journalist. He helps individuals and organisations communicate effectively with the media, both in print and on camera. His training has been praised by clients from a wide range of industries and has been featured in major outlets such as the BBC, the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal. He describes himself as the neediest trainer, and he helps you avoid being misquoted In this week. Guy covers everything to do with media training why it's important, what you can do, what practical tips you can give to your C-suite, what you can do yourself, how you can prepare for an interview Radio 4 and I asked him about a Radio 5 interview just as an example. It's packed with tips and practical advice that you can take away. So I hope you love this episode. So sit back, relax and let's all learn how we can all do media interviews better.

Speaker 4:

Welcome to Socially Unacceptable, from f**k up to fame, the marketing podcast that celebrates the professional mishaps, mistakes and misjudgements, while delivering valuable marketing and life lessons in the time it takes you to eat your lunch.

Speaker 1:

Hi everybody, welcome back to socially unacceptable. This week, we're delighted to be joined by a media trainer, an ex-journalist and podcaster himself, Mr Guy Clapperton. Welcome to the show, Guy.

Speaker 2:

What do you mean? A media trainer? I'm the media trainer. How very dare you. Hello, how are you, Chris and Zak?

Speaker 1:

An exceptionally dry media trainer. Is that fair?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm fully dry this morning, I promise.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so do you want to tell us a little bit about what a media trainer does and what you do the media trainer, what you do at your end?

Speaker 2:

Sure, what I've been doing over the last 30 years as a journalist is basically I've been one of those journalists who goes into an interview, assumes they're the expert because they've done a bit of research, and then leads the interviewee around and you basically dominates the interview.

Speaker 2:

And as a media trainer, I try to get people into the position so that they can take a bit of control of their own interviews and make sure their expertise gets through rather than just serves the journalists. Serving the journalists to gender, because that, I think, is how they will serve their company better, but also how they'll serve the audience better. It's sunk in gradually over the years the team that when I was, say, a 27 year old reporter on technology, I'd never built a computer, I had no real technical expertise, my expertise was in interviewing, it was in writing. So I try to make sure that people can my team and I try to make sure that people can sort of meet people where they are and, you know, share their expertise, speak a bit in journalists and make sure that their message, their expertise, gets shared in an efficient way, whether they're talking to a journalist or whether they're on stage or on Zoom doing a presentation. I do a lot of work with people on presentations as well.

Speaker 3:

So, Guy, a conversation I often have with our clients is do I need media training? Now, you know you get often a lot of chief executives or senior people who are probably quite confident at presenting in front of a crowd and they say they don't need media training. Would you disagree with that? Do you think everybody needs it if they're going to be speaking with the media?

Speaker 2:

I think it's always useful that are going to be natural performers everywhere in fields. I was doing some training just a couple of days ago with some very young people, and the company had sent me some clips of kids being interviewed literally 13-14 year old kids being interviewed to use purely for that session, so I sort of built them into the session. One or two of those kids had obviously had no training whatsoever, but they waited until the interview had stopped interviewer had stopped. They then came out with an answer that had a good beginning, a good end, and that included the question and the answer, so you could just cut it about and use it as if you were you know whether you wanted to have the interviewer in the clip or not, so there are people out there who can do it naturally.

Speaker 2:

Mostly, though, if you ask those chief executives, you know what do you do when you're going to be presenting to a crowd. They'll say, well, I've practiced for a while. I might write the speech in advance, I rehearse it. They'll say, yeah, of course you do Now. So what do you do when you're going to talk to a journalist who might, by the way, be presenting this, to say, 10,000 people, which is many, many times that crowd that you're going to be speaking to.

Speaker 2:

That's when they think they can just do it without any practice, without any forethought, and that is not a good idea, because they're there to promote something and they've got a vast audience. And not only have they got a vast audience, they've got an independent person to filter it through. You know, we've got to make sure that that message gets through that person. And that can be a really good sanity check, by the way, because there's a good role for journalists to say, well, that's just nonsense or that doesn't make sense, or I don't think people are going to understand that. Can you explain it differently? So I'm not denigrating the role of the journalist there by any means, but there are people out there who think they don't need rehearsal just because they are the experts in this subject. It doesn't make you an expert at doing interviews. It doesn't actually make you an expert at doing presentations all the time either.

Speaker 1:

So, Guy, what are the most common mistakes that comms and marketing people make when dealing with the media in an interview?

Speaker 2:

It's got better and better over the years. I remember when I was many years ago, I was on the staff of a publication and there was one PR person who would always refer to an article I'd written for them. Actually, I didn't work for them. Funnily enough, I worked for the publication I was working for at the time, but they always saw it as their article. So I think claiming ownership of further journalists is a mistake that some PR people make and it's only a little sort of niggle. In practical terms it makes no difference whatsoever.

Speaker 2:

Some people think that they're going to be able to and this happens particularly internationally because cultures are different but some people think they're going to be able to check the copy before you actually publish. In the UK, certainly, that's a big no-no. In France, not so much. So I understand the journalists won't react badly when you make a request. The other thing I find that comes people do occasionally is if I go in and do a presentation, or then they'll say good, and Guy will share the presentation afterwards, which might well be fine, but they haven't asked me first. It's my intellectual property and they forget to ask me. They just assume that it's theirs, which doesn't always help.

Speaker 3:

And what about in the heat of the actual interview? Then We've got a chief exec. We've worked hard to get an opportunity in front of the business editor of the Times for the sake of argument. What can go wrong in that heat of the moment?

Speaker 2:

Well, first, they can fail to take your briefing seriously. You will have worked on a briefing document, you'll have told them about the journalist, you'll have told them about the publication and you'll have told them about some key facts. I'm assuming that goes almost without saying Some chief executives or some junior people let's not say it's just the seniors they will have a look and they'll think, oh yeah, I know all this stuff and they'll give it two minutes and then the journalist asks a question they weren't necessarily expecting and you'll come out with well, that's not in the script.

Speaker 2:

I've actually heard people say that's not in the script, do you know, what Journalists are not actors we don't do scripts or they assume that the journalist is part of their marketing operation. Of course you want to use your interview for marketing, that's well understood. But the journalist is there strictly to be independent. And then you get the other one, the other howler and I know you're both going to recognize this which is when someone says oh, by the way, that bit was off the record, like I'm going to remember which bit was off the record, which bit wasn't off the record, and had I agreed to offer a record in the first place? These days, well, since about 1998, I think I've not done off the record at all because I don't need to be given the job of managing somebody else's communications. If you don't want to tell me the read is something, don't tell me.

Speaker 3:

Do you want to explain what on the record and off the record is for our listeners? I think it's worth diving into that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you for that. I have had. I've seen this go wrong many times because I actually saw on LinkedIn a media training company saying recently that off the record means, please you may refer to this, but don't say that I told you that's unattributable, that's not off the record. Off the record means you've told somebody something on deep background, in other words, that you've told somebody something that they must not repeat. But there's something they need to know in order to inform their the piece they're writing Say they've made some assumption based on some financial results and the accounting rules had changed and they weren't aware of that. You can't be seen saying my financial results have been a bit skewed by this new financial ruling, but you're that the journalist will be saying you're making less money than you are if they don't know that. So you might give them something like that on strict off the record stuff so that they won't refer to the fact that even the interview has taken place.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because what always interests me on the news is when they say you see, like Laura Koonsberg or one of the political editors I can't remember his name on the BBC at the moment the chap, what's he called?

Speaker 2:

Chris Mason.

Speaker 1:

Chris Mason, that's it. And he'll say like. He'll say like on the yeah, publicly they're talking about this and in the back streets of Westminster, privately they're talking about this, and I'm thinking who's briefing him privately? That's all off the record, isn't it? But that isn't what you're talking about in the commercial world, I suppose, because most people say on off the record doesn't really exist. I agree.

Speaker 2:

I always say in my media training sessions that off the record doesn't exist, or if it does, then it's the hands of the public, in the hands of the public relations experts, not in the hands of the first time interviewer. Because you need those understandings, you need to be absolutely certain the journalist understands it. And there's famous cases. It's not just politics. I was training somebody yesterday and I mentioned that in 1970, I think it was John Lennon told a journalist that he was splitting up the Beatles but don't tell anybody. So the journalist, good as his word, didn't tell anybody.

Speaker 2:

And then, of course, when Paul McCartney announced that he was having to take legal action to split up the Beatles and all the headlines of Paul McCartney split up the Beatles, the poor journalist gets an angry call from John Lennon saying I split up the Beatles, why am I not getting credit? And he said because you told me not to tell anybody. And Lennon said I didn't mean don't tell anybody, I meant tell everybody. So you do get. I'm not suggesting Lennon was media trained. I was only five at the time so I wasn't available, but I'm. You do get people misunderstanding it.

Speaker 3:

So my advice to clients is always steer clear and from your perspective, then I mean I'm you know, we're not going to start naming names what kind of well, in fact, I'm what? What media interview disasters have you seen recently? I mean, one that springs to my mind is Hannah Ingram Moore on Pierce Morgan. That just kind of was a slow motion car crash, wasn't it as as a Pierce Morgan slowly tightened the screw and and and really put her under pressure. Have you, have you seen any in the media recently that you thought, god, almighty, they should have. They should have prepared better for that.

Speaker 2:

I suppose when you're looking at media disasters you have to look at politicians, because they're so public and the. There is our old friend, nadine Dories, who was culture secretary and came out with gems like Channel 4, having to be privatized so that it could commission more programs from independent producers, when actually the fact was that it was Channel 4 was, has always commissioned programs exclusively from independent producers. Also, the fact she said it shouldn't be funded by taxpayers money, which it never was. So you know that just didn't happen. So you know it's when politicians get facts wrong, but then these days they just they, they keep digging, they just stand by them completely. But yeah, the, the, the, the Captain Tom Moore example was also particularly egregious. This idea of saying, you know, but we need this spa, when it's just this hideous building. I think that was just horrible.

Speaker 1:

What tips do you provide to your clients to help them stay composed and deliver key messages Effectively, especially when facing really tough journalist questions?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. I once media trained somebody who actually had anger management issues not that they told me that before I arrived and the spell was very big, and probably an ex rugby player or whatever but they, what we agreed was that when I was asking let's call him Brian, it wasn't his name. But when I asked him a really difficult and horrible question, he wouldn't think this is guy being horrible to Brian. It was. This is journalist being being horrible to chief executive. So it was job title to job title.

Speaker 2:

I think you've got to take a step back in your head and not play that journalist's game. Never forget that unless the journalist has taken the precaution of buying shares in your company or is also your line manager, somehow, the journalist has no particular right to ask you questions. You're doing them a favor, you are helping them by asking. It may be a mutually beneficial favor and it probably will be. So most of those opportunities are really good opportunities. But don't feel that you have to answer or that you are not allowed to take notes in. You know, not an episode of Mastermind or Dragons of Dan or something. It's an interview and they're seriously trying to get accurate stuff out of you.

Speaker 3:

And which? Which journalists I know? A few years ago, it always used to be Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, didn't it? Who was? Who was the journalist that gave you know chief executives and politicians the biggest grilling? Who, in your view, is it now? That's the kind of the most you know, the pit bull terrier of journalists. Is it Pierce Morgan? Is it somebody else? Nick Robinson?

Speaker 2:

Pierce Morgan is in that category, although he tends to go for the populist, rather shouty, shouty approach, which means I'm not in his audience. But I certainly accept that he is very tenacious and will keep hold people to account. I also look at Nick Robinson on the Today program, who I think is equally tenacious, rather more polite and just coming along the sideline. Amal Rajan of the Today program is also holding people to account very well. But above all and I'm a bit of a Today program fan you can probably see the pattern emerging. Michelle Hussain is coming in for a lot of stick because she's, because she's refusing to back down when people say she should do. And if you're getting that much stick you're probably getting something right. So I think I have a lot of time for her as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the Today program are very, very good at it. I think anybody that's going on the Today program. You need to prepare very, very carefully. How do you gauge the success of media training initiatives then? Do you have like key performance indicators? How do you, how can you tell that someone's gone from being a distinctly average interview to an exceptional candidate for an interview?

Speaker 2:

I think it's all about how the interview came out, whether the journalists actually did record their messages and reproduce them, which is basically a matter of making sure the journalist understands the importance of the messages, which goes back to don't put rubbish messaging in, you know.

Speaker 2:

Make sure that you're actually saying something coherent, make sure you're saying something worthwhile so that the journalist will actually be incentivized to make a better story using your messages. You know, I've certainly been in situations where people have said the message is we are a quality company. Well, frankly, until somebody says we're not a quality company, we're a bit rubbish, I won't be regarding that as a quality message any time, but I think it's a matter of whether they've thought through what the message is and whether it's any good. Also, whether they've thought through what's going to happen next. I've had people saying things like I want to get into the financial times because I want to sell more mobile phones or whatever, and no one ever looked at the final bought the financial times intending to do to find out which mobile phone to buy next they'll buy something else. So it's a matter of looking at that outcome and how likely it is that's going to happen as a result of your message.

Speaker 3:

To what degree should we kind of rehearse and practice prior to a media interview? I mean, obviously we're advocating an element of training, but if we have a big interview set up, should we kind of do a dress rehearsal beforehand in order to kind of test every possible angle?

Speaker 2:

I think that's a good idea, as long as you don't end up just learning a script. There's a lovely I say lovely interview with Ed Miliband online. It's ages old and there's been a school strike and he's asked six questions and he just comes out with the same platitude, word for word, with some of the clauses in the sentence slightly rearranged, but he just comes up with the same old tosh every single time and he looks a complete muppet, although one of the young people I was training a couple of days ago thought he was pretty good. So this could be just my rather jaded middle aged view coming out, but I think it's a matter of making sure that people can cover their key points rather than making sure they stick to a specific script, because that's always going to look bad If you want to recite a script hire an actor.

Speaker 1:

So there's been an interesting article in the Telegraph that I've tweeted recently and it was basically by a guy called Ben Lawrence and it was on the effect that PR and publicity spin is killing the TV interview with celebrities and very much about what we're talking about here in that if you think of footballers, you think of politicians.

Speaker 1:

They give boring, vanilla answers and to the point where the David Beckham documentary on Netflix was created by his PR team, supposedly allegedly in brackets closed brackets. And then the more recent one has been Robbie Williams, and then this article in particular was saying thank God for Pete Dockety and Louis Theroux, because obviously on I think it was Sunday on Monday there was a Louis Theroux is doing a series of interviews and then Josh were and he's recently interviewed Pete Dockety. Pete is a very charismatic, crazy individual that brings the chaos, but he's also he's got a beautiful like intelligence to him and he's. Ben Lawrence talks about him being fragile and the fact that Louis Theroux is such a good interviewer that it brings some real personality back to celebrity rather than vanilla answers. So going back to what you were saying about politicians and giving exactly the point you just made, like giving the same answer over and over and over again. How do you stop your trainees or clients or marketing PR comms, professionals from being boring in interviews but also getting across the key message?

Speaker 2:

I think you have to establish here very firmly with them that they are there to be themselves. They really aren't there to be some sort of vanilla, as you put it, or corporate droid or whatever. I was once training a guy who was a 25 year old entrepreneur. He'd made a company worth a million dollars or something at that age. He asked me what sort of persona he should adopt during a media interview and I asked him what do you mean? What sort of persona?

Speaker 2:

I don't understand and he said well, people don't really want to hear from some smart like 25 year old who's built up a million dollar company. And the ironic thing is, you know, that's exactly who people wanted to hear from, because that's what he'd done, and there were probably 24 year olds who quite like a piece of that. So you know how do they do it. He thought he should sort of try and be a much more mature person, and that's always going to look artificial. So I just try to persuade people. You know, maybe even watch some of these bland documentaries you've referred to, and they'll soon give the idea that too much polish is a bad idea, and those things do end up very scripted and they do end up very, very bland. The thing about celebrities is, if you want an interview with Robbie Williams, there is ultimately only one person in the entire world who can give you that interview with Robbie Williams, and if you don't want to play his game or his PR people's game, you won't get that interview.

Speaker 2:

So it's a bit different when it's politicians, or particularly people in the commercial world, who if I wanted to interview somebody who was, say, a social media professional or, dare I say, a PR professional, and you guys were being just too scripted, then I can go and talk to someone else instead, whereas that's not possible in Robbie Williams case or David Beckham's case.

Speaker 1:

Let's say I'm ahead of marketing and I'm listening to the show and I've got an interview next week on Radio 5 Live God knows which show. They've got an interview on Radio 5 Live next week. They've got 10 minutes to talk about I don't know, marketing in their sector. What are the three key tips you would give to that person to prepare for that interview?

Speaker 2:

Find out about the audience. What does that Radio 5 Live audience need to know about marketing? If you've got 10 minutes, what are you going to say that's going to prevent them from turning over to another radio station? At to one minute, two minutes in. See if you can get three decent messages in there and put them around the interview. See if you've. They've got to be good messages. They've got to be messages that relate to the Radio 5 Live audience and treat this 10 pegs. Catch their attention with the first one when it's about five minutes in. Pop the next one if you can. If you can Think of it like 10 pegs or a sort of W shape and then finish on a high note if you possibly can. But then beyond that, I'd say don't overthink it. Do listen to the questions, do answer the questions. There is nothing more annoying that will get your interview cut short than somebody who just ignores the questions and comes out with their messages. That's bland, it's boring, it's pretty offensive.

Speaker 3:

So three messages is about right. I know the media has kind of shifted in recent years towards kind of an obsession with sound bites, hasn't it? Should we try and get kind of? I know politicians are very good at this. Should we try and get sort of snackable sound bites into our interviews, or does that become inauthentic and contrived?

Speaker 2:

If you mean them so they don't sound inauthentic and contrived, then I don't think there's anything wrong with them. Politicians mostly do it when they're campaigning, don't forget. So they want people to remember them, they want them to take away. It's almost like a greatest hits thing. But if we just stick with the political image for the moment, let's take two recent conservative leaders of the 73 that have been over the last few years. If you take first of all, Boris Johnson his campaign in 2019, you don't have to like him particularly, but get Brexit done and build back better, resonated with enough people to get him a substantial majority.

Speaker 2:

There has been a bit of history since, I grant you, but that was what happened in 2019. 2017, Theresa May went around parroting the phrase strong and stable and she obviously didn't mean it. If you look at old interviews of her at that stage, she's just sort of saying strong, stable, strong, stable. She's really. Her heart is not in it, and I think that's part of what lost her majority in that instance. You threw that away.

Speaker 2:

So if you're going to do sound bites, make sure it's something you believe in, make sure it's something that you say. Make sure you sound authentic If you're usually given to long, long, long rambling statements, I'll figure that for some reason then you're not going to sound right if you do these tiny little sound bites. I hear people for the same things, like you know, use alliterations. You know, start with the same letter on these sound bites, which can work, but the more contrived it sounds, the more the listener, the viewer, the audience is going to go away and think you just made that up in advance and you were going to say whatever was asked. So I don't underestimate the viewer.

Speaker 1:

The strong and stable thing, the Tories God, they got beaten with that at the time, didn't? They Just went over and over and over again what they would do for a bit of strong and stable right now. But yeah, you're right it also it felt so repeated that it was like we were stupid, like the general public were stupid, and had to have the same message strong and stable, strong and stable over and over again. So you've obviously seen a lot of mistakes and a lot of crises yourself. At your end I'm not saying you personally, but if you were involved in what's like some of the worst media accidents or crises, you've seen where people have just completely screwed up an interview and it's ruined a brand because they've said the wrong thing. Can you think of any good examples that you're using your training?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think there's any number. You can go all the way back to Gerald Ratner and the famous we Sell Crap thing. One of my training team is actually the MP, or the XMP Now the Gordon Brown was campaigning for when he accused that woman of being the biggest from the back of the car.

Speaker 3:

I remember that classic microphone that was brilliant.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, if you watch that, if you look at my website, you'll see that Simon Danshoek is on my training team. If you look at that clip, you'll see that he's actually addressing those comments to Simon in the back of the car. And the funny thing is that Simon did win that election because he just thought that well, in that case we've lost this election. I might as well take my foot off the pedal. There's no point. Luckily, as he puts it, so did the conservatives. They just assumed they were going to win. They took it completely for granted. So that's an obvious example. It's always a case of make sure the microphone is off. We had just recently Gillian Keegan heffing and blinding all over the and saying that her department's doing a great job, when a lot of people thought it wasn't, although I do wonder sometimes whether they use that quite deliberately, because I don't think she'll be able to pretend particularly badly.

Speaker 1:

It looked a bit deliberate that. I thought it was very quick.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, that's right. All these MPs, all these others, nameless others sitting on their asses. But then, in politics, we keep getting back to politics just because it's so public and such good examples of extremes of communication we're recording in the week of the Swila, braverman, resignation, sacking whatever it is, and exchange of angry letters and stuff like that. So the stuff that happens on the record is as damaging as the stuff that's beyond your control is often as damaging as the stuff that can happen by accident. I do think, though, that if you're going to be presenting in public, if you look at the presentation side of my business, the best thing you can do is look after the AV people, the camera operators, the sound people, because those people will look after you or not.

Speaker 2:

I once did a presentation or rather I was chairing a thing at a trade show, and I'd been given literally five minutes to get in and prepare, because I was doing lots of things at this trade show. I was editing this publication and I was supposed to be introducing lots and lots of speakers. I was doing this panel discussion walked in and the AV guy says oh, by the way, only one of the microphones is working, so I'll put that in the middle and you've got the radio mic. That's also working and I thought what hold on? But there's a panel of four people and he'd set it up so that my chair was one side of the microphone at some distance.

Speaker 2:

The four panelists were a good walk away from the other working microphone. So I had this working mic so I was introducing people and they were walking up to the microphone, saying hello and walking back. I was asking the question and they were walking up to the microphone and answering it and it was just so slow and when it got to the audience Q&A I thought, well, I can't do this, I've just got to go and lean at people because I had this microphone on that was actually working and asked them to ask the questions. It was still bad, but that was how I ended up, with an entire audience talking to my left man Boob. So do look after the AV people, they can turn a little bit.

Speaker 3:

There we go. Great tip, look after the AV people. I like that. We've talked a lot about kind of disasters and what goes wrong and who's been put under pressure and got it wrong. Let's flip that. Who's amazing at media interviews? Who do you see? That is just authentic. Polished just gets it right every time.

Speaker 2:

Well, most people, because I think the thing is you watch an interview and if you don't notice that they've been media trained, then I think that's when they've been really well media trained. The past master of publicity at the moment, I think, is now this. I'm going to look a bit anarchy here so I'll apologize for that in advance, but the hype that Russell T Davis has managed to build up for the new doctor who is just astonishing given that the ratings were on the floor this time last year and I think you know he's given little hints.

Speaker 2:

He's got a whole campaign going on in there. There's been little clips coming out, accidental leaks, which don't look terribly accidental to me, stuff like that. So I think those people do really well. But, of course, the showbiz in celebrity. What the big secret is that none of this really matters. It's these, you know, the politicians who make decisions about our taxes and about our public services. They're the ones who don't do so well.

Speaker 1:

So we haven't really talked about the process of media training. So you guys do specializing media training. We've got clients that ask us for media training. Sometimes we'll do it Some bits in house because we do a lot of interviews, obviously, but not you're an ex journalist. Do you want to talk about your process? You know, if somebody hires you, what's the process to media training for working with Guy Clapton.

Speaker 2:

Sure, working with me or any of my team. Basically, it starts off with a phone call and or a Zoom meeting when the connection is slightly better than the one that we're doing at the moment. Obviously and I asked what the objective is I think it's quite patronizing for people to say well, here's my media training offering, you've got to fit around it. I first of all say where do you want to get to? Whether you I'm sure you do the same with your public relations operation, it's always a matter of where people want to take themselves to. Sometimes you find that if you dig a little bit, there's an imminent crisis. Sometimes there's been a crisis, sometimes it's just there's. A new PR person thinks that there may one day be a crisis and that, by the way, is the time to do the crisis planning when there is no crisis. A bit like taking life insurance before you're ill. It's cheaper. So I then have a conversation with them.

Speaker 2:

We do take advantage of the fact that I'm a journalist, so you say I'm an ex journalist. I mean, the podcast is still very much alive and I do write the odd bits and pieces, but, quite honestly, the rates haven't gone up much since the mid 2000s, so that's become less important in my life and I do regard myself as a current journalist. I will look at good interviews and bad interviews. I mentioned the in the band one. I've got that on YouTube. I show that to them. We go to. We then move into interview practice and that's indispensable, which is where I use a draw on my years of experience interviewing people and just give them a bit of a grilling.

Speaker 2:

Generally it's best if it's in front of my camera operator as well camera expert, I should say. He is an award winning documentary maker and I keep referring to him. He's the camera operator. I hope he doesn't see this. Paul Angel, who is superb, and I had a couple of other camera experts as well if he's unavailable and we we film, we play back Paul with his documentary making expertise and me with my focus on content. We sort of pick out what, what went wrong, what went right. He focuses more on the body language.

Speaker 2:

I look at the sort of headline that might have come from that particular publication. We look at tips and tricks. We look at how journalists behave. We look at things like how to avoid blurting something out because there's an awkward silence. You know, you, I'm sure you'd have seen journalists asking a question and then just sitting there and the person feels as if they ought to carry on talking. The phrase does that answer your question is absolutely magic in there, because it means you've invited them to ask something else if they want. But they can't just sit there and wait.

Speaker 2:

We then do a question, another interview interview practice. This time I give them 10 or 15 minutes to prepare and they're often staggered at the amount of difference that just that 10 or 15 minutes will make to their focus. And that is where I start. You know really hammering at home, but you should never do an unprepared interview, even if you get a call on your mobile because you're giving out help to someone at a trade show and someone says I'm a journalist, we met up, can we speak? Then you just say I'm just about to nip into a meeting, but I'd love to help.

Speaker 2:

So you then take five, 10 minutes making notes, talking to colleagues and thinking what can we get out of this? What's that readership going to do next? What's that viewership going to do next? Are they going to buy more stuff? Is it just about thought leadership? Then be the person who calls back and rather than just leave. The journalists is a nice to have and you'll start to build a really good relationship. But yeah, we so it's mostly a practical session does draw on the fact that I've been a journalist for quite some time. This gray stuff on the top of my head is perfectly genuine.

Speaker 3:

Okay, the, you just mentioned something about body language there which I found really interesting, and I think you know people can be quite comfortable doing telephone interviews the moment somebody's on camera. You know, you suddenly got the decision what to do with your hands, haven't you? And you get someone like Tony Blair who, very famously, you know, jabs his hands like this what, what's your, your view on body language? You know, is there any kind of quick fixes to looking less awkward on camera, or should we just? Should we just kind of think?

Speaker 2:

it's not something to be overthought. It's not something to be overthought Because I think self consciousness is often your worst enemy. If you can get someone else to watch you back on video, then it's going to be better than watching yourself, because you will notice all of your individual little ticks that no one else is actually going to see. For some reason, over the years, I've developed a habit of speaking out of one side of my mouth, which irritates me intensely. You probably hadn't even thought about it. Now you're not going to be able to unsee it. Now there is anybody else.

Speaker 2:

I don't know where I started talking about that, but that's one of those things.

Speaker 2:

The other, but if you're going to be interviewing, say, on zoom or on, as we're doing now, riverside FM, or teams or whatever you're doing and they're you're being recorded, try to do what I'm very self consciously doing. If I looked at your faces when I'm talking, I start to look down there. I can now see your eyes and making eye contact, but that looks very bad because you're just seeing the time. I'm showing off the fact that I haven't got a ball patch. Basically, you know, on my selling points Good hair, radio, four voice, many of own teeth, but I'm, when I'm talking, mostly I'm looking at the camera that's perched on top of my computer, that I'm pointing at it as if if you can see it from there, because by definition you can't. But that makes better eye contact and better engagement and it's a skill you have to work on because the temptation is just to look down at where people actually are, and I'm sure I have done the implants down here, but it does make quite a powerful difference.

Speaker 1:

I do that on webinar. We host webinars like free training for marketing people. We do them like once a month and when we're doing it we present Will and I will present the latest theory and next one's on social media trends. So register at prohibitionprcouk slash events. Anyway, yeah, it's coming up, but when we're doing, when we're presenting them, all you can see is the deck. You can't actually see the picture, like you know, like you and I can see each other, while we could normally if the connection was better, I always tend to just look at where the what do you call it? The camera is lit up at the top of the laptop and then because that, that is you're right, it's the better eyesight, rather than looking down at the screen.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, what about? What about backgrounds? It always makes me laugh watching interviews. You know, when you get politicians sat in front of a bookcase, don't you with some choice books to make them look more intelligent?

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, Flat Stanley.

Speaker 2:

Yes, with no books in them or something. Yeah, I again don't overthink it. You know I've positioned my chair so that hopefully, you can't see the piles of un-filed paper in behind me in this wonderful not exactly paperless office that I've got. But I'm yeah, as long as there's nothing horrible. Don't worry about it is my suggestion there.

Speaker 2:

Something my camera operator, Paul, often tells people and he's actually says if I had a little trailer that we've got on YouTube is if you're a person who talks, if you're talking to somebody and you're on, there's an actual camera there rather than a webcam. So you've got a camera operator there, professional. If you're the sort of person who talks with your hands quite a lot, do tell them, because then they'll be, I'll think, right, okay, well, I get a decent shot of the torso so that you can see the hands rather than just do what you do on Zoom, which is just get the odd sort of little thumb hoving interview just occasionally, which is just peculiar. And if you don't talk with your hands, then the camera operator will probably be able to get a much tighter shot on your head so your face can do all the expressing, because, you know, just be a little bit aware of those things and tip off the camera operator and you will look significantly upgraded.

Speaker 1:

So, guy, this show is all about it. It's called from fuck ups to fame. So we tend to talk about and your world is all about crises, dealing with media interviews. What is the one big, is the one fuck up in your professional career that you can think of, that you've done something wrong and you've learned from that you'd like to share. We've had some people share some exclusive ones, from losing businesses to all sorts of bits and pieces and always makes for an interesting stock because people don't tend to talk about their mistakes. But I think our listeners really enjoy and that's the theme of the show. So I just wondered if you had anything. Or are you that good at media training? You've never fucked anything up.

Speaker 2:

Everybody has these things happening. Often it's stuff that's beyond your control. We're struggling with a weak internet connection at the moment and that has been known to mess up entire media training sessions. Before now we've had Virgin into repair it. So whichever media company I use, there was once a case where we had to abandon things that came very occasionally because of a bad connection. That this is over. You know about once that's happened over the last 20 years, so that's been pretty bad.

Speaker 2:

I've mentioned already that incident with the, where I had to conduct interviews from my left manboob. That was pretty bad. I think that's quite memorable as the worst one the other ones that it tends to be when you've got people who aren't sure why they're there. If I'm interviewing, if I'm training somebody, I once had a company where the guy was there, the PR person was there and a lot of the marketing people were there, and so was the managing director of the client, the end client, and he felt he was there just to support the other people.

Speaker 2:

And yet every time they did a practice interview, his response immediately was if you said that in a real interview, I'd sack you and I was completely at sea. I can't possibly say no, you can't sack people like that. I did at one point say to him and I regret saying to him I said well, almost snap back and said, well, I'd be very interested to cover the story about constructive dismissal if you did so. So I think that's probably me not managing people's expectations correctly in many ways. But the worst occasions are when the person doesn't think they need any training, just there to show off.

Speaker 3:

I mean after the show. Chris, we'll have to talk about a few of the media disasters we've seen over the years. I think one springs to mind, actually, which we'll talk about Guy, how can people contact you? Do you wanna give us your kind of contact details and website and social handles and people can look you up?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely fine. It's really easy to remember. You can find me on LinkedIn as Guy Clapperton. Funny enough, my website is clapperton. co. uk, two Ps, not Clapton. For anybody who wants to know, it's Clapton and I'll just email me, guy at clappertoncouk, and I will endeavour to respond. No, I won't endeavour. I'll be positive, I will respond. I can do emails.

Speaker 1:

Guy. Final question You've been on the show. Now You've been interviewed, you get the theme of the show. If you were us, who would you next interview for the show, and why?

Speaker 2:

Well, if there were no barriers in your place, I would be talking to perhaps Piers Morgan, or perhaps Duncan and Pierce, perhaps Piers Morgan, and perhaps I would also be looking at the likes of David Beckham or Robbie Williams to ask them exactly why they did those terribly bland things where they didn't really answer anything, those exclusively organized by their PR people. However, I suspect back on Planet Earth, their PR people would get in your way. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Zak, that's your challenge, mate you need to get them on the show.

Speaker 3:

Beckham and Piers Morgan on the show Nice easy, nice, easy.

Speaker 1:

brief Piers Morgan and David Beckham. Can you imagine him interviewing?

Speaker 3:

He'd interview us, wouldn't he?

Speaker 1:

Oh, we'd get, completely owned.

Speaker 3:

We need guys training before we do that interview.

Speaker 1:

He'd own us.

Speaker 4:

Yeah he would.

Speaker 3:

Guy, thank you very much. That was fascinating, really practical advice there and I think our listeners will absolutely. You're more than welcome, thank you for having me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thanks for giving your time. It's my pleasure entirely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, hopefully you'll get a few people giving you a call after back on this interview. So, yeah, thanks very much. I'm lovely to meet you as well. Okay, so Guy Clapperton, then fascinating chat media trainer expertise. I think a lot of people out there are always wanting tips, practical things they can take back to their internal teams and how to make the C-suite communicate properly, and he did have some fascinating insights and tips. What did you take from it, will?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, he really did. I think, from my perspective, it made me reflect on some of the interviews I've brokered over the years, and, without naming names, I think Brokered, brokered, that's what we do, isn't it? Brokered, brokered deals? You'll remember this one we had a client once chief exec decided they didn't need media training, they didn't need to prep, and they believed that everything was off the record. And the headline after we got a business profile in their regional press was this company has been accused of causing cancer. And he basically told all these lurid anecdotes about how his company had been accused of X, y and Z. He was flirting with the journalist, he didn't take it particularly seriously and all of that went into the interview. Yeah, I do remember that it was a horror show, wasn't it?

Speaker 1:

It was shocking and he had nobody to blame but himself, because we'd actually done a detailed briefing, told him who the journalist was, what sort of thing. But he took it because he had a big personality. I remember he took it like he thought the journalist was laughing at his anecdotes and playing, but she actually wrote out word for word what he'd said and it was like did you actually say?

Speaker 3:

this, it was a hatchet job. Well, it wasn't a hatchet job, because he said it all. Yeah, he said it all.

Speaker 1:

He thought he was doing it in jest and a journalist will go laugh along with your jokes and then, write it all out, yeah, disaster. So just be careful for your jokes. I would say.

Speaker 3:

A few other examples. Thankfully we've not presided over these. Do you remember the BBC interview when that guy who came for a job interview somehow managed to get onto live?

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, yeah, that was brilliant.

Speaker 3:

He styled it out. He's been asked about the Apple share price, wasn't he? He styled it out and nothing.

Speaker 1:

He didn't even look shocked either. He just carried on. I think he thought it was part of the interview. Yeah, that was hilarious. Then the other example which You're going to talk about when that guy was having doing a virtual call live on BBC. His South Korea, no, his kids burst in through the door.

Speaker 3:

He's like a professor, wasn't he? Yeah?

Speaker 1:

And then his wife then bursts in and drags the child out, his hotlinks come flying in. It was brilliant.

Speaker 3:

I watched that at least once a month and it's endlessly entertaining.

Speaker 1:

It is brilliant. We'll have to share the link on the show notes.

Speaker 3:

So I think, yeah, the lessons are preparation, preparation, preparation, preparation. You're never underestimate your media interview, Even if it's a short telephone interview ad hoc. You need to prepare and you need to think about your key messages the moment you do. And it's about authenticity as well, isn't it? It's not about just pushing your company's slogan or pushing your key messages. It's about being yourself and being authentic.

Speaker 1:

And don't be vanilla, like I was talking about the article in the Telegraph. A lot of celebrities and sports personalities are vanilla and it's the ones that actually it's your Jack Grelish's of the world who step into the DJ box, the ones with a bit of personality, the ones but, bearing in mind, if we're talking to commercial clients, we can't tell them to have too much personality, not so much personality.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's like getting that balance right between being have your own personality. As Will says, be authentic, but don't go fully what that client who just thought they could make as many jokes for the journalists, and it all got written out word for word for Betum and he had nobody to blame except for himself. You live and learn, you do, he did, he does anyway. Thanks for joining us this week on Social and Acceptable Tune in in two weeks' time and we'll have another episode for you. If you like the show, please do subscribe. We need every single subscriber we can get. And also, if you like the show, please leave a comment and let us know what you think. If you want to be on the show as well, just go to socially unacceptablecouk and send us an email and tell us why you should be on the show, because we want to hear all about your fuckups. So keep on fucking up and we'll see you soon.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for listening to Social and Acceptable. Please remember to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a five-star review. Don't forget to follow us on social media on Instagram, tiktok and LinkedIn at ProhibitionPR and Twitter at SocialEUA, we would love to hear some of your career fuckups so we can share them on the show. For more information on the show, search ProhibitionPR on your search engine and click on podcasts. Until next time, please keep pushing the boundaries and embracing the Socially Unacceptable.

Media Training for Effective Interviews
The Importance of Media Training
Media Disasters, Politicians, and Effective Messaging
Improving Interview Skills for Professionals
Media Training and Body Language Tips
Media Training Tips and Lessons