Losing your temper in a broadcast interview guarantees only two things – instant failure for you, and lasting fame on YouTube. Losing it means losing control of the interview. You have let your emotions take over, rising to the bait offered by a probing interviewer. Live tears or a live eruption, it does not matter. Either way, you are delivering what the audience secretly loves.
And yet that does not mean that you have to keep your emotions totally hidden. Properly harnessed and deployed, they can be a powerful weapon.
In a crisis, pride in your organisation plays well, offering a counterweight to a journalist’s negativity. So too does pride in your people, your staff. Beset by problems, they want to hear that you still have faith in them.
A sense of hurt, with anger just below the surface, will give force to your responses. A sense, too, of bewilderment, righteous indignation, even disbelief, is justified if you feel that the crisis is being elevated to drama level.
A warning, though. Any attempt to use an emotional approach to mask the truth will fail. You will be doubly branded as a liar and a cheat. The broadcaster Stuart Hall fell into that trap in his initial response to sexual assault charges, describing them as “pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious”. How hollow and devious those words sound now.