Everyone has probably heard it before.
A spokesperson is being interviewed on radio or television and they start their first response by telling everyone how “excited” they are.
If they are not excited, they are “delighted.” Sometimes they are not content with telling everyone once about their exhilaration; they feel the need to share this information multiple times.
This compulsion to talk about excitement seems to be increasingly common—and is also something spokespeople should avoid.
Here are four very good reasons:
1. Nobody cares.
It may sound harsh, but the public does not really care how excited a spokesperson is to be launching a new product or opening a new building.
People want to know what the announcement means for themselves or, if they are not directly impacted, what it means for other people.
You may have heard the expression “show don’t tell.” What a spokesperson should be trying to do is show the audience why their announcement is relevant, important and worth knowing.
Tell the audience something that will make them sit-up and listen and display their own enthusiasm through their body language and the energy of their delivery.
2. It sounds contrived.
The best interviews sound like a conversation, and spokespeople should try to use the same language they would use if they were talking to a friend or family member.
If you were talking to a friend you wouldn’t feel compelled to constantly tell them about your levels of excitement. So, don’t do it in your press interview.
3. It can feel scripted.
Another significant issue with spokespeople telling everyone how “excited” they are is that it can make interviews sound scripted.
Of course, spokespeople should be prepared for media interviews, but if it begins to sound like they are reading out the press release or crib sheet, then interest is going to be quickly lost.
4. It can be memorable (for the wrong reasons).
It is a bit like those spokespeople who opt to start every response with “so.” When a spokesperson does something unnatural or irritating like that, it tends to stick in the audience’s memory and distract from the intended message.
One example was an interview about Facebook’s new London office, at the end of last year, on Radio 4. The interviewee was determined to constantly bring the interviews back to how pleased she was. It led to some awkward exchanges where questions were seemingly ignored or used simply to talk about her exhilaration:
— WiseMan999 (@grump999) December 4, 2017
Why is this Facebook woman on #r4today so ‘excited’ about everything?
— SSHughes (@sshughes) December 4, 2017
Hi, I’m from Facebook and incredibly excited to pitch you the smiling face of late neoliberal dystopia #r4today
— Jonathan Schofield (@schofeld) December 4, 2017
Another interview in a similar vein was BlackBerry boss Stephen Bates’ appearance on BBC Breakfast a few years ago. No matter what he was asked, he was only prepared to talk about how excited he was about a new product launch.
Steph McGovern : You must admit though that it has been a tough few years for you. You’ve seen your market share fall from nearly 90 per cent at its peak in 2008. What went wrong?
Bates : I’m always excited to be part of this industry. This is a really exciting industry to be in and we are on the verge of a major change towards mobile computing, and we think BlackBerry 10 is going to power us through the next 10 years.
The “excited” problem is not just consigned to media interviews.
It’s an even larger issue in press releases where it seems almost mandatory to include some contrived quotes from a CEO, director or senior leader tell us how thrilled they are to be announcing something—which often in reality is pretty dull.
Not only do these quotes show a lack of imagination, but they are also unlikely to be used. If your press release does manage to get the attention of a journalist, that same artificial language invariably finds itself into broadcast interviews.
Ultimately, more people spend more valuable time telling people how excited they are, instead of the message you had intended.
What other words do you want to see dropped from media interviews?