Are you interesting?

04Sep09

As the former head of a PR and sports marketing firm, I am schooled in the practice of re-framing questions if need be, giving plain vanilla answers when necessary, and above all, staying on message. (I said schooled, not skilled)

We taught clients how to do these things so they would stay out of trouble,  not risk being misinterpreted, and refrain from accidentally giving the competition any information that they could use to their advantage.  All worthy objectives.  However, while remaining within these boundaries, we also encouraged clients to be engaging, open, respectful and answer the questions fairly.  Reporters have a job to do and compelling people are helpful to their objectives. 

More than ever, I think public figures have a PhD in the science of talking while saying nothing.  I have been watching the U.S. Open tennis tournament lately and I swear, most of the players have turned into the equivalent of their own bobble head doll, when it comes to interviews.  Unfortunately, the women are particularly adept at being uninteresting. 

Reporter:  “You have lost several close matches recently when you were ahead. Why do you think that has happened and what will you do differently tonight?”

Player:  “She is good player, I will have to play my best.”

Reporter:  “Some say that your and your coach have been in disagreement over your approach to this match?  Is that true?”

Player:  “She is a good player.  I will have to play my best.”

Source: unknown

Maybe the women all have the same media coach. 

Thankfully, there are a few players, mostly on the men’s side, who engage us, while still staying safely in bounds.   They engage us by being genuine.  Not everything they say is interesting but it is clear they are genuine so we listen.  Genuine is compelling.   You cannot fake genuine.  I hope.

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