There were two controversies surrounding public figures being asked personal questions on camera this week, which provide hugely valuable lessons for senior business leaders.
First, NBC's Peter Alexander asked Ivanka Trump about the sexual harassment allegations against her father, President Donald Trump.
And then Charles Wooley of Australia's 60 Minutes current affairs television program asked New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern what date she conceived the child she is pregnant with.
We can debate whether this line of questioning is appropriate. Ivanka Trump didn't think so, and while Ardern laughed it off, the face she pulled suggests she didn't think so either (this article makes a nuanced case for and against).
But it is a natural consequence that audiences want to know more about the person behind the headlines. As a radio and later TV presenter, I found asking personal questions disarmed guests who were just out to drive their corporate messaging, and often provided insights into what motivated and drove people. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, or learn to cook. Like this:
That said, you can't reasonably be expected to lay bare all your secrets. You need to learn to manage the situation if the questions go too far. #askmehow
What are your thoughts? Add a comment below.
Mark Laudi is a media and communications mentor with 24 years of expertise in the media industry, including mission-critical B2B communications, crisis communications, public speaking and presentation skills. Besides mentoring business and political leaders worldwide in media skills, public speaking, and conference presentations, Mark is a much-sought-after speaker, conference anchor, and panel moderator at business events. He conducts master classes in media and presentation skills as well as crisis communications workshops for senior executives at a large number of multinationals in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Mark also possesses expertise in investor relations and invests in online startups that cater to the needs of SMEs.