If you’re ever invited onto a panel/show or to a debate and realise a few minutes in that you’re there as the fall-guy, please do the following:
1. Calm yourself to an almost comatose level of serenity – you’ll need it for the next step.
2. If you’re constantly being interrupted, the chances are that your half-explained thoughts are going to go viral in about 5 minutes so RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO EXPLAIN. I know, it’s hideously hard, but apply total silence when being interrupted. Whoever’s hosting the panel doesn’t want dead air and silence will alert listeners/viewers to what is going down.
3. Use the silence to formulate short, short and incredibly clear sentences – and no more than four of them at a time.
4. Eventually, the host has to ask for your opinion: remember, RESIST opening the floodgates – the favoured guests are just waiting to interrupt again. Here’s the key: calmly ask the host if you can have a full 1.5 minutes to reply and use those sentences!
5. Don’t forget: the second you’re interrupted again, go straight back to graceful and total silence. A professional host will, however reluctantly, grant you the time. Step 6 is for dealing with unprofessionals.
6. If you’re allowed a phone on the show, tweet a clear and unambiguous reply to the host – in case you aren’t, carry a pen and notebook so you can write the answer down. Only use this in extreme cases – use it too soon or too often and you’ll come across as petulant. Use it once in your life under truly extreme circumstances and you’ll expose a set-up for what it is.
7. The second you leave the spotlight, prepare a very clear statement outlining what you were really saying – short sentences, easy words and less than 8 points. Put it out there. Everywhere.
THE LAST SENTENCE IN THIS POST IS THE MOST VITAL (sorry for shouting 😊)
These points aren’t for any specific person, but for anyone slyly hoodwinked into a media electric chair or a hostile meeting. Be calm, clear and invincible. Most important: make sure what you really want to say is sensible and useful. If you use these tips, you can’t tell anyone that they got it wrong.