If you, or your PR client, are interviewing with the media, and you haven’t prepared answers to difficult questions, particularly if you’re in a bad news situation, you’ve blown it.
That’s what happened last week when a correspondent for the BBC interviewed Mike Lazaridis, the co-chief executive of Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian firm behind Blackberry.
After discussing the new Playbook tablet, the focus of the interview shifted to the company’s problems in India and the Middle East, where governments want to gain greater access to the tight security system used for Blackberry’s business users.
Lazaridis wasn’t ready for the question and complained that it was unfair. His PR person tried to intervene. Things got ugly.
The correspondent kept his cool. But Lazaridis got flustered and eventually ordered the camera person to “turn that thing off.”
Bloggers, like PR consultant Greg Simpson in the UK, started writing about it and sharing the YouTube video:
Ben Franklin had it right when he warned: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Be prepared. Crisis communications counselor Jonathan Bernstein explained how to interview with sharp reporters (and nasty, hostile ones) when he was my guest during the teleseminar, “How to Keep the Media Wolves at Bay.”