A Lesson From Janet Jackson On What Not To Do During A Media Interview


Recently I watched Larry King interview Janet Jackson. I was really looking forward to the show because I remember what an impact she had on my life as a teen. I wanted to wear my hair like her, dress like her and I especially wanted to dance like her. But after seeing the interview, one thing is for sure-I would NOT want to do interviews like her and as a long-time radio and TV personality I definitely wouldn’t want to have a guest like her. As much as I hate to say it, Janet’s performance was downright bad!

Though she looked great as always, Janet just didn’t deliver the kind of insight that would warrant a one-hour with Larry King. That time could have probably been better spent interviewing my 5-year old son!

A media interview is your time to shine. It’s your opportunity to dispel myths, share new information, promote yourself (Janet was promoting her new CD Discipline), win new supporters, build your brand and shape your image. Janet’s interview was a major disappointment because all she did was fill time with the same old stories we’ve heard before, warmed over for Larry King.

Thanks to her mega-superstar status, Janet’s less than stellar performance probably won’t hurt her. In fact, most people probably didn’t think the interview was all that bad. But to help everyday people like you avoid what I consider a media disaster, I’ve put together a list of the top 3 things that you should never during an interview:

1.) Don’t succumb to political correctness.

One mistake Janet consistently makes during interviews is that she thinks too hard about how to respond to certain questions for fear of saying the wrong thing. My advice: just be honest when answering questions and tell it like it is. I’m not suggesting you say things that are hurtful or damaging, but don’t be afraid to speak truth to power! Whoopi Goldberg is one example of someone who is not afraid to speak her mind and she is a breath of fresh air. True, Janet is no Whoopi, but if her sexually suggestive music is any indication of how open she can be, she should let her music philosophy guide her in interviews.

2.) Don’t display fake modesty or humility.

Janet just naturally has this aura of shyness but for God’s sake Janet, you’re 41 years old! It’s time to stop acting shy! In interview settings it is vitally important to show confidence and self-assurance. This helps audiences feel comfortable with you. Janet’s false modesty only makes me feel like she has something to hide.

3.) Don’t hold back interesting information that your audience wants or needs to hear.

Throughout Janet’s interview I kept waiting for her to drop a bombshell on something-her family, her home life, her wardrobe malfunction-anything! But she never did. If you get invited to do a media interview, deliver the goods. Give the audience something that they won’t get anywhere else. Then they’ll look forward to your next visit and be more willing to support you. More importantly, TV and radio producers will keep calling you back for more.

Note to Janet: if you need media training, I’m available!