Over the last three months I’ve been fortunate enough to carry out media training sessions all over the world. And media training, I’m pleased to say, is something that most people, wherever they’re from, tend to find enjoyable and stimulating.
But one of the things that’s struck me has been the contrasting strengths that spokespeople of different nationalities have. For example, in Brazil, just about everyone I trained was able effortlessly to convey their natural warmth and personality, whereas British spokespeople can find that quite a struggle. Many of my trainees in Atlanta confirmed my long-held belief that Americans are among the world’s most natural communicators, with rich vocal variety and measured pace of delivery. And in the Falklands, the people I trained spoke with rare determination and passion for their cause.
However, I’ve also been reminded that, wherever you are in the world, the handful of essential ingredients for a good interview always apply: it’s important to impart simple messages, backed up by strong evidence, tailored to the needs of the audience; communicate sincerely yet passionately; if you can’t answer a question directly, tell the journalist why you can’t; always address the journalist’s question before bridging to the point you want to make; and simplicity is the key, so don’t try to say too much.
These basic rules always apply, whether you’re in London or Lima, Brussels or Beijing.