I can’t believe that Barry O’Farrell, the NSW Premier, has not had media training. He’s been a politicians since 1995 and Premier for two years. Yet Mark Hawthorne in The Age described his performance at a media conference yesterday on a new planning system as an impersonation of a talking Easter Island statue.
“With a bank of TV cameras at the back of the room, the Premier answered all questions standing stock still and staring straight ahead, no doubt just as he’s been taught. He referred to the journos by name without making any eye contact, except to the all-important red button on the camera.”
What a disaster of a performance. If you want to connect with the public through those conduits called journalists you really need to look them in the eye. We media train that at a media conference you answer the person who asked the question by initially looking at them (in a confident, friendly manner) but then widen your eye contact to include the group. If you would like more questions from the same person go back to looking at that journalist as you finish your answer. If you would rather someone else ask a question, finish by looking elsewhere in an expectant manner.
This story just shows there are good media trainers and there are bad media trainers. My guess would be the person responsible for media training the NSW Premier has had no TV experience at all.