Three Communications Lessons to Learn from the Failed Liz Truss Premiership

  1. If you’re going to do a press conference, or deliver a presentation on a challenging issue, don’t do it like Liz Truss
    The former Prime Minister’s press conference, hastily convened after she sacked her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, lasted only eight minutes. She failed to apologise for the turmoil the notorious ‘mini-budget’ had caused. Then, after most of the questions from the media were simply variations on the theme of “it was your policy, so if he’s going, why aren’t you resigning too?”, she left abruptly, having failed to satisfactorily answer any of them, while questions were still being thrown at her. In difficult circumstances you may be better off avoiding the media completely rather than making it worse like this. Preferably, anticipate the obvious lines of questioning from your audience and ensure you have worked out a convincing response.
  2. Have some consistency over message
    Ms Truss’s authority quickly drained away, as her statements frequently had little credibility when made, and were soon reversed (“The 45p top rate tax cut stays”, “Yes I will be leading the Conservatives into the next election”). Her No. 10 media operation was chaotic, with different messages coming out from different people, both on and off the record. Can you be sure your top team is sending out consistent messages about your organisation?
  3. Remember to be human.
    Much has been made of Liz Truss’s robotic delivery. When being interviewed she often gave the impression that her words were being fed to her mouth by some sort of faulty, slow-running AI algorithm. Even if the message is right (which in her case it often wasn’t) it won’t land with your audience if it doesn’t seem authentic, or we instinctively react against your style. If a relaxed and confident delivery doesn’t come naturally to you, get some better media training and rehearse your key points out loud until you could deliver them standing on your head.

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