On Friday I played a game of golf with a long-term web client of mine. I picked him up at lunchtime and we drove up to the course.
I parked the car in the underground car park, grabbed our bags and dropped them off at the bag drop (just a 20 metre walk).
We then went and had an enjoyable round on a great golf course. It was a good day……..but things were about to change!
We Finished Golf At 5 PM
We finished up around 5 and headed back to the car in the golf cart.
I pulled up at the boot of my car and we both jumped out to get our golf bags from the cart into the car.
When we did that I heard a women call out his name. I didn’t take any notice until I felt a bright light on us and turned to see a TV crew – Reporter, Cameraman with lights blazing and Soundman – running towards us for the perfect ambush interview.
They were from a national current affairs TV show.
I stepped back to let my client handle the interview as the rather aggressive female spat out questions at him.
It was fascinating to watch.
Brilliant Work From The Reporter
1. The reporter was brilliant at what she was doing. She didn’t care what he wanted to say, she just wanted a reaction – her entire demeanour, body language and intonation was geared to eliciting a negative reaction from my client.
2. The cameraman did an excellent job – just calmly shoved the camera into my client’s face (about 6 inches away) and didn’t let up.
When my client moved to the side of my car the camera just followed him in and cornered him until he had nowhere to go.
How To Handle The Ambush Interview
1. Stop Whatever You Are Doing.
- If you’re moving your golf bag from a cart to a car, stop.
- Turn and calmly face the reporter and camera.
- Take off your sunglasses.
2. Get Your Body Language Right
- Open up your stance.
- Say “Hello, how can I help?”
3. Answer The First Question With Something Like……
“Firstly, thanks for the question and thanks for the opportunity to put our side of the story to you.
It is a very delicate issue involving legal teams on both side, so I’m afraid at this stage I’m unable to provide a full answer. If you’d like to make an appointment I’d be delighted to have a chat.”
The reporter will then come back with an aggressive question. To which you say:
“That questions certainly deserves a fuller answer than any I can provide here – if we can arrange an appointment for a more suitable time I’d be delighted to have a chat.”
4. Keep Calm, Keep The Body Language Open
The reporter will hammer away trying to get either a sound bite or a reaction. Keep your answers non-committal and explain why you cannot answer fully. Above all, stay calm.
A Fascinating Experience
It really was a fascinating experience watching the ambush take place.
My client didn’t do so well, but it was entirely understandable in the very hostile and intimidatory situation he found himself in.
I’d imagine it would be a very rare thing to find yourself doing, but the above tips might help you out at some stage or in slightly different scenarios.