One of the first tenants a good media training coach will use with eager, or not so eager spokespeople is this: If you don’t want to read it, see it, or hear it, don’t say it.
I had to chuckle back when Dr. Ben Carson was being interviewed on CNN about an interview he had given the previously when he stated, “There are better candidates than Donald Trump.” Now, I do believe Dr. Carson had signed on to “Stump for Trump.” So maybe this was a slip of the tongue, perhaps a Freudian slip, who knows.
However, when he was interviewed by CNN regarding his statement he acted as though he was getting the question for the first time and responded by saying something to the effect that there are always people better at anything, “I don’t understand why I’m getting this question,” he sputtered.
The interviewer said, “Dr. Carson, I’m merely asking you to clarify what you, yourself, said in a previous interview. At this point Dr. Carson complained that his earpiece wasn’t working well in this remote broadcast interview. The interviewer said, “Well, I’ll talk louder” or words to that effect. I wasn’t recording the interview because my body was numb from laughing.
Everyone’s public comments, sometimes even their private moments can come back to bite them.
There are even stories about patients having surgical procedures and secretly recording their physician’s comments while the patient h/herself is out cold with anesthesia.
When I coach thought leaders or subject matter experts to speak at internal or external meetings I plead with them to treat every conversation as if you are being recorded. Is this fair? Absolutely not, but technology rules the kingdom nowadays.
No one is safe until they are home asleep in their bed…maybe not even then.
Prepare your elevator pitch, which could serve as your WPA: Wait, Pivot, Answer, when you are caught off guard.
Have you ever wished you could backtrack on something you blurted out? Tweet me! @bergonpoint