It's refreshing to see a great media interview every now and then.
Too often, these pages are filled with the foibles and screw ups of spokespeople. The idea behind posting these cautionary tales is so that the rest of us might avoid making these same mistakes in our dealings with the media. And while it's helpful (and sometimes fun) to learn from the mistakes of others, there's much more to learn from watching someone really knock an interview out of the park. The problem is that such examples are few and far between.
80% of media interviews fall into the category of 'average' performance. 10% is made of of people who have no business being in front of a camera (see some of our older posts). And somewhere in that final 10% are spokespeople like Captain Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his jet safely in the Hudson River last month. His interview with 60 Minutes this past Sunday was fantastic.
The interview was completely compelling. And Sullenberger's messages and delivery were sincere, succinct, evocative and human. Sure, part of what made this interview great was the subject matter. But the hero pilot instinctively employs so many of the techniques of expert media spokespeople that it's really quite impressive. His answers are concise. He paints extremely descriptive images with his words, making you feel as though you were on the plane that day. And throughout the entire interview, he's cool as a cucumber and totally in control.
If you're called upon to do TV interviews as part of your job, I would encourage you to bookmark this interview and revisit the next time you're getting ready to speak with a TV reporter.