Anyone who is undergoing media training or preparing to be interviewed by a tv or radio reporter should take 45 minutes out and listen to Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 where the most recent guest Noel Gallagher (yes that one) gave a masterclass in the art of being interviewed.
Sure, he’s had loads of practice over the years but then so have plenty of politicians, sportsmen and celebrities who regularly fail at the first hurdle, usually by trying to convince us that they are someone they’re not, or believe something which deep down they don’t, because they’re afraid of being “found out”…however that manifests itself.
What strikes me nearly every time I hear Noel is how open and honest he appears. I’m particularly impressed by his reluctance to resort to exaggeration when talking about the highs and lows in his life. He plays down some of the awkward stuff but not by denying it happened or protesting too much, but by contextualising it in a normal, matter-of-fact, ‘Yeah,that’s life’ kind of way.
Even when he’s talking about the “difficult” personal stuff say about his violent father, or the fact that his family didn’t have much money when he was growing up in the 70’s, he remains open and while he doesn’t shirk the difficult topics he doesn’t dwell on them either – “I’m an open book”.
Listening to Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young I was struck by the ‘no-bullshit’ tone of his authenticity. People in the public eye strive for authenticity..or at least to appear authentic….but few succeed with any level of consistency.
So when someone achieves it they deserve praise.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who longs for the day when more politicians will directly answer the questions put to them by reporters, or at least give a straight reason as to why they’re not prepared to do so. (This applies to all our parties).
You certainly need more than authenticity for a successful interview and this is seldom easy for politicians who have to address a whole host of agendas when being interviewed…as the current Labour Party leadership contest demonstrates ; policies need to be credible and sharply articulated for instance.
It’s worth remembering that each candidate is working hard to get as much support as possible from the right, left or centre ground of the party. Not to mention the unions and the party activists. But they also have to address the voters who deserted Labour in the last election and at least signal to them that there is at least the potential to attract their vote next time round…or the time after…
What Noel demonstrated is that if you’re sure of who you are, from a personal and moral perspective, it’s much easier to come over as a genuine human being and communicate your message to the audience(s) you want to address/care about.
So Jeremy,Liz, Yvette and Andy forget the political commentators. (And David, Tim and Nigel for that matter.)
Don’t Look Back in Anger, listen to Noel.