So I figure it's time I came clean on the three little phrases that I used to keep me out of trouble when the interviewer was trying to get me by the ankle and not let go. And even to this day I am not sure the journalists worked out they were in my kit bag....so shhhh...keep them to yourselves. But do feel free quietly to use them as part of your interview technique.
The stock fallback phrase
"...and that's why"
This covers a multitude of situations but use it for three specific ones.
- Instead of saying 'yes' or 'no', both of which stand to get you into trouble as they will normally be in response to the journalist putting words into your mouth for them to try and get a good clip, just go straight into, '.....and that's why what I'm saying is really important".
- It keeps you on track with your agenda, taking you straight back to what you want to talk about.
- It's a great way to finish off a question, or even the actual interview if you've said all you wanted to.
Someone else to answer
"...what my customers tell me..."
This lets you use 'someone else' answer the difficult question that you don't want to touch. If the journalist comes back with the same question, simply tell them to go and ask your customers, and go straight on to tell them what other great things your customers tell you about your brand.
The "get out of jail" clip
The get out of jail 10 second clip which you have pre prepared and learned so well that you could say it naturally in your sleep. It could be based on your key message, a direction you're heading in, some positive changes you are making.
"...it's a word perfect, 10 second, comment that runs off the tongue"
This is the phrase to roll out with such confidence and fluidity that no-one notices that you have:
- Avoided the question
- Not heard the question
- Not understood the question
- Didn't have an answer to the question
...and it's also a great way to finish the interview and run it out of time, when the journalist tries to catch you out with that final killer question you didn't want to go anywhere near.
Always see the journalist as your best friend who has given you the platform to get over your messages.
But it's important to stay in control....these three tips will let you do just that.
...but don't tell anyone!