Rob Ford, the mayor-elect of Toronto, is no stranger to the media. In fact, he's done hundreds of interviews in the past year alone, driving home his message about stopping the 'gravy train' of wasteful spending at City Hall. But none of those interviews was as baffling as the national radio interview he granted to CBC just one day after his resounding victory.
If you haven't heard the interview yet, you really need to hear it for yourself. As Carol Off, the co-host of CBC's 'As It Happens' starts asking him questions, Ford ignores her and starts barking at someone on the football field (he's a football coach and conducted the interview during a team practice). He does this several times. You can almost hear the host's irritation level rising as the interview progresses. Ford then gives a few stock quotes about cost-cutting, then says he has to go and abruptly ends the interview.
The Lesson: Where to begin? I'm probably going to miss a few, but let's take a crack at it, shall we? First, avoid scheduling a national radio interview for a time when you know you're going to be standing in the middle of a windy field on a cell phone (yes, the interview time had been arranged in advance and agreed to by Ford). Give the interviewer your undivided attention. Avoid yelling at others while conducting a media interview. When you have an opportunity to speak to the entire country, use it to deliver your most important messages to your most important audiences. Thank the people who voted for you. Assure those who didn't vote for you that you'll work to earn their trust. Whether or not his behaviour in the CBC interview was deliberate (Ford reportedly has a dislike for the national broadcaster), it represents a real lost opportunity.