Lights, Camera, Laughter

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I was interviewing a bunch of world leaders at the European Development Days in Brussels last week.

Arriving late for an interview with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller – pictured below – I apologised by blaming a European Commissioner for keeping me waiting.

“You sound like Shaggy,” said a chilled-looking Simpson-Miller.

Feeling immediately more at ease I replied: “Wow, that’s the first time a prime minister has quoted Scooby-Doo to me.”

“I wasn’t referring to the cartoon character,” said Simpson-Miller. “I meant the singer.” At which point, the PM launched into her own rendition of the Jamaican-American’s smash hit “It Wasn’t Me,” prompting fits of laughter all round.

A few lessons here for anyone nervous about doing interviews:

  • Humour helps break the ice
  • Make the interviewer relaxed and you will be more relaxed as an interviewee

(Top photo of Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou courtesy of Michael Chia)

About Gareth Harding

Gareth is the Managing Director of Clear Europe and head of the Missouri School of Journalism's Brussels Programme. He is a former journalist, speechwriter and political advisor.

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