5th October 2016
As a Brit living in the US, there are a number of things that fascinated me about last night’s Vice Presidential debate between Sen Tim Kaine and Gov Mike Pence: The focus on international affairs, which was welcome, but at complete odds with the mainstream American media’s coverage of overseas issues (there basically isn’t any); the highly personal nature of these debate, over policy platforms; and the odd question about the role of the candidates’ faith, which is never mentioned in the UK (Alastair Campbell famously said “We don’t do God”) and seems particularly strange in a secular country, where Christian affiliations of all kinds are in decline, and actually in the minority.
But as a communications professional, I was more struck by the lessons for anyone preparing for a media interview.
While a company executive is unlikely to take part in a 90 minute head to head moderated by Elaine Quijano, the format of the debate, and some of the techniques employed by the candidates, provide valuable tips for anyone being thrust into the media spotlight.
Both Gov Pence and Senator Kaine are accomplished politicians and debaters. But look beyond that and you will also recognize that they are expert media interviewees, and that irrespective of their political positions, there are valuable lessons there for anyone wanting to use the mass media to communicate.
Jon Meakin is Grayling's Global Business Development Director.
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