Eight words and phrases to avoid in an interview …

As the election campaign draws to a close, we’ve all suffered enough of the usual ‘political answers’ (or non-answers) to questions in the interviews and debates.  A recent Spectator article feels particularly relevant, highlighting words and phrases, some of them much used by business leaders as well as politicians, that usually mean the exact opposite of what they say.  It’s the TV and radio equivalent of those call centre messages which repeatedly explain that “your call is important to us”.  Anyone who has to do media interviews should make it a personal mission to try to avoid as many of these as possible – we’ve added a few of our own least favourites, that have occasionally cropped up on our media training courses.

I’m glad you asked me that: sometimes it really is the thing you wanted the opportunity to raise yourself, more often it feels like a way of buying time to think when you have been asked a question you really hadn’t thought about.  If you really need to buy time you could be a bit more honest, and say something like ‘let me think about the best way to answer that’ – which at least makes it look like you’re treating the issue seriously.

Let me be very clear:  a politicians’ favourite, usually followed by obfuscation and waffle. Don’t.

It’s just common sense:  another politicians’ favourite – but it rarely is.

We take these allegations very seriously:  usually means that we hate whistle-blowers and will do everything we can to brush this under the carpet.

We welcome the report: ditto – we hope this will be quickly forgotten.

Incredible, fantastic or unbelievable: is it really?

If speaking to a journalist try to either avoid these phrases, or really make them mean what they say!

More on our Media Training courses