How many times do you hear political leaders complain that they have failed to get their message across and their policies are not getting through to the public?
The failure to communicate effectively lies with politicians themselves who consistently show an unwillingness to answer the question or even to be available for interview. Too often, they provide pre-set responses and consistently repeat the same policy messages to the point that no one wants to listen anymore.
The PR industry has a share of the blame for this situation with some communicators demanding that politicians stick to a script and repeat it in the mistaken belief the difficult questions can be avoided by side stepping them. They also try to seek greater control when interviews should take place. It’s become increasingly obvious such tactics do not work.
The Brexit saga at Westminster is a fine example of how the public lose faith in their elected representatives because politicians consistently try to evade answering the question.
PR has the scope to tackle this and the Industry should tear up the rule book about media interviews and start again. The mantra should be:
Answer the question you are asked
Be direct and don’t sidestep the difficult questions
Communicate more often
It’s a new ABC that should apply to all in the public eye and for politicians in particular, it could be a first step to regaining the trust of the people.