Party conference season: Nick Clegg scores 5/10 for Andrew Marr interview

Party conference season: Nick Clegg scores 5/10 for Andrew Marr interview

Good on content, but very poor on style. If, as the research suggests, 93% of the impact you have on TV is created by body language and tone of voice, then Nick Clegg continues to let himself down.

Slow down, Nick! Take a breath! I’ve said it often before, and it sounds simplistic, but slowing down really is the one thing that will improve Clegg’s performance out of all recognition.

In his pre-conference BBC interview with Andrew Marr yesterday, he started off at a reasonable pace, talking about the ISIS threat. He came across as measured and statesmanlike. But as soon as Marr switched to domestic politics, Clegg built up to a ferocious pace, and got faster and more breathless with each new question, spewing out statistics and proof points until I could hardly keep up with him at all. Honestly, he sounded like he was on fast forward. And the overall, and very unfortunate impression, as it often is with Nick Clegg, was of an intelligent, but rather petulant sixth-former in an inter-school debating competition.

What a shame, because his content was excellent. He had a good core message, which he repeated several times, about balancing the extremes to his left and right. He had strong evidence to back it up (though I had to rewind the interview and pause it a few times to understand it all), and he bridged assertively yet diplomatically away from Marr’s attempts to get him to be unduly beastly towards the Tories. In fact, whereas Miliband and Cameron both exaggerated their opponents’ awfulness beyond all reason, Clegg’s more moderate critique was far more credible and persuasive.

But I fear it was all for nothing, like forcing the audience to drink from a power hose. And it will continue to be all for nothing until Clegg learns an absolutely essential lesson about media interviews:

Less is more. So slow down.

Article date

October 6th, 2014

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer

@RT_MediaTrainer

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.

Please Post Your Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 × 3 =

If he’s not careful, John Bercow’s “snapshots” might bring him down

If he’s not careful, John Bercow’s “snapshots” might bring him down

In his recent book about his time as Deputy Prime Minister,…

The PM must improve her communication skills while the going is good

The PM must improve her communication skills while the going is good

As Theresa May flew over the Atlantic this week to meet…