Brian Clough – still compelling TV

Brian Clough – still compelling TV

It’s 33 years since Brian Clough gave this interview to John Motson, but it still makes a good case study for media training.

A successful media interview is about saying something simple, and saying it well. Clough passes that test effortlessly. Notice how he summarises his message perfectly in the final five seconds of this clip (and even finds time to praise himself for his own succinct eloquence). Throughout the interview, he paints the picture for the viewer, using language and imagery that everyone would appreciate: “sitting in your own armchair” and “being lectured”. Most importantly, he sees it as his job, not just the journalist’s, to make the interview as entertaining as possible for the viewers.

Of course, Clough enjoyed courting controversy, and many of today’s interviewees would fail their organisations by doing the same. But there is a difference between playing it safe and playing it dull. You can’t achieve anything for your organisation, however relevant your messages, if your audience has flicked over to another channel at the first sound of your voice.

As a media trainer, I constantly find myself interviewing people, at the start of their training, who sound bored by their own jobs and their own organisations.

And as I never tire of telling them, “if you’re not enthused by what you do, why on earth should your audience be enthused?”

Article date

March 26th, 2012

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer


My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

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