Ignoring Them Won’t Make Them Go Away

We all like to stop and buy a copy of the Big Issue – of course we do! But just in case you missed the edition edited by Armando Ianucci I’ll bring you up to date. The main theme of the issue was this: social media doesn’t expand our horizons at all. Quite the reverse … Continued

Gaffe Of The Day: I Don’t Have To Be Clever To Do My Job

I always say in my media training sessions “the interview will feel like a conversation. It will sound like a conversation. But it’s not a conversation.” Why oh why did David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, fail to remember that?  When he told Nick Ferrari on LBC “What’s a requirement … Continued

Do You Ever Think You’re Incompetent?

It was the devastating question from Jeremy Paxman that finished Chloe Smith’s career as economic secretary to the Treasury. She’s now an under secretary at the Northern Ireland Office (or as it’s known at Whitehall, The Wilderness). Paxman was so exasperated by Chloe Smith’s inability to explain a Government U-turn on fuel duty that he … Continued

The Bodyguard – is Laura Kuenssberg’s necessary?

And here is the news. Forget Brexit, Merkel, Catalonia. Today’s top story is BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg Spotted with a Burly Companion in Brighton. Well we’ve all done that. But this time the man with her has been identified as a former British soldier who describes himself as a media security adviser. Cue outrage … Continued

What if I face Jeremy Paxman?

It’s another question that comes up frequently in media training sessions. “I’d be terrified to be interviewed! I’ve seen what Jeremy Paxman and John Humphries can do to an interviewee.” Well. How can I put this kindly? You won’t be. You’re not the Prime Minister. For a start, Paxman’s retired and now only ever seems … Continued

The Art Of The Pivot

There are two ways of dealing with awkward questions. You could try to Trump them. You could stun the public with the perfect put-down that really nails them. Here’s Trump talking about the media at Charlottesville: “They’re so bad, and so pathetic”. That has the advantage that it uses language a two-year-old can easily understand, … Continued

“I’m really only confident when I know my subject inside out.”

It’s a common remark that’s made by someone in practically every course I run. And when I hear it, my heart sinks. How am I to respond? “Well, that’s the top tip. Only be interviewed on a subject in which you are completely masterful, and you know everything”. No, it’s never going to happen. And … Continued

Y’know it’s annoying, y’know.

What a brilliant Olympics for Team GB!! It’s been fantastic to see this year’s big names such as Max Whitlock, Laura Trott, Justin Rose and Jason Kenny puffing and panting their way to the microphone and camera seconds after clinching yet another Gold for the UK. They’ve all done really well conveying the excitement and … Continued

Today I Will Be An Expert In….

I was training a multi-national company (yes in their European HQ – just saying….) in the art of pitching for business, and presentation techniques. You know, those things that people fear more than Death, according to unchallenged research. Unchallenged because it gives me an opening slide with real impact. My clients wanted to know how … Continued

The Questions Aren’t Important.

One of the best things I learned when, as an STV staffer I reported occasionally for ITN was told me by a producer on the home newsdesk. The legendary John Toker had a habit of sending off reporters and their crews by shouting as they left the newsroom “Don’t forget, the questions aren’t important!” Pause … Continued