As well as it being St George’s Day – April 23rd also marks English Language Day.
And it falls on this date because it was around about this time in 1564 that the country’s most famous playwright William Shakespeare was born and on this date that he actually passed away in 1616.
It got us thinking – in our line of work – the English language and ‘words,’ are at the core of everything we do and everything we teach on our courses.
Now we are no Shakespeare – not by a very, very, very long shot – writing a press release, a blog, an article or penning a media training course is never going to get the literary acclaim that Othello or Romeo and Juliet did for ‘Bill,’ but you do have to use the right words, to get the right impact.
So, we thought why not write a blog on the kind of words or language you should use when you’re being interviewed in the media? Here’s our top five tips:
- Don’t waffle – have the key messages you want to get across whatever questions are asked (we doubt: “to be or not to be,” will be one of them.)
- Avoid jargon or technical language used within your industry (we kid you not, Tamsin interviewed a police officer once in the 90’s who told her: “the offender made good his escape in a westerly direction,” – translated that means he or she ran off down the street – if that’s what happened, say it.)
- Keep it simple – tell your story as though you’re telling a mate over a coffee. Make what you’re saying relatable to the relevant audience.
- Don’t swear – it might sound obvious but how many times have you seen those interviewee gaffes going viral because people have dropped a clanger because the interview had finished but the recording was still going?
- If in doubt leave it out – if you’re asked about facts or figures and you’re really not sure – don’t try and wing it. Inaccuracies and wild guesses will soon be found out – ask any MP who’s been caught out on camera. It’s much better to say: “you don’t have the exact figures to hand but you’ll find out and get back to them – (note to self though, if you think you’re going to be asked for facts and figures, find them out BEFORE the interview and know them inside out. Journalists love a figure – it gives their stories context and in a lot of cases headlines.
And there you have it our top tips on the kind of language to use if you’re doing a media interview.
Happy birthday William Shakespeare – thanks for the 1700 words you’re credited with creating which are still in use today – 1700 – how impressive is that? We’re off to read Measure for Measure to see which words we can spot