Saturday, 26 October 2013

New for the news?




We've all been there - being wrong footed by someone who speaks and thinks in a different way from us.  Interviewers may come upon it more often than others - it's part of the job after all.  But there was something more in this interview by Jeremy Paxman interviewing Russell Brand.

Normally when you see an interview, politicians use what called in the trade "milton language". Milton language is the use of big picture language eg "Yes we can"; 'We can do this together".  Brand uses phrases like "why would anyone vote for it, why would anyone be interested". "I'm calling for change"

And historically the journalist wants to pin down data by asking questions that use "Meta Language".  Paxman says "Why should be take you seriously ,when you're so unspecific".  Meta language is about drilling down.  Picking out words and asking for more clarity.

So that is the norm in interviewing. We're used to hearing it and even when politicians avoid questions; bridge to another question or flag up an issue that they want the questioner to ask; we know they've thought about the boundaries of what they will say. It's all been thought through.

What's different about this interview is the freeness of the communication. The honest open endedness about it.  Saying there will be a revolution but we don't know how.  "There are people who know what to do but I don't have all the answers".  Can you imagine a politician or business owner saying this - probably not and when it does happen, we notice it.  Usually it's only part of an interview not the majority of it.

Yet we live in a world where increasingly politicians and business people can't know everything that is going on.  A time when innovation is key and new ways essential to consider.

When I'm in a training room there can be two ways to go:

You tell people things
You work out things together.

Telling people things might be interesting but when you work out things together they tend to last longer and have greater impact.

Also if you are trying to find new ways of working; new ways of innovating - telling doesn't work. You've got to be willing to say silly things that might not make 100% sense.

Bill Clinton said in a talk I went to see at an Entrepreneur's Conference last year that he wished for a day when more politicians would say "I made a mistake, it didn't work; so I'm going to try something else".  Politicians aren't often allowed that freedom.

The language of innovation is when you speak and you don't know the answer; it's a creative way of working out the next steps. It's not usually the language of political news programmes.  This kind of talk is for roundtables, for group discussions.

What was so fascinating about Brand was his honesty and unashamed inability to have all the answers. What was so captivating was seeing humour in politics; fun in the news.

The juxtaposition was innovative.

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