January 31, 2013 by Colin Kelly
The MD at Blackberry maker Research In Motion was pummelled on BBC Breakfast this morning.
He thought he was going to get a free ride to crow about their latest product.
In fact, he faced tough, but perfectly legitimate questions about delays in product launches and declining market share.
Watch the clip and these questions are best summed up by ‘What went wrong?’.
He twisted and squirmed, bluffed and blustered and did everything he could to avoid answering the question.
Hopeless and he fooled no-one.
Here’s what he should have said.
Q: What went wrong?
A: Everything. This sector moves lightning fast and we took our eye of the ball. I’m really sorry about that and I want to thank those customers who stayed with us. It took us a while to even realise we had a problem but once we did, I wanted to make sure things didn’t get worse. I had to stabilise things, take our time and make sure when we did finally launch something new, that it was as good as it could possibly be. Look at what happened with Apple’s iPhone 5 with the maps fiasco. We want to avoid that at Blackberry. So we took our time with this and I’m glad we did because it’s a brilliant product that business users, and consumers are going to love. It can do x, y, and z and initial feedback suggests people actually prefer it to Apple and Android devices because we’ve put a lot of effort into making xxx unique feature the best in the world. So yes, we’ve been down in the doldrums and part of that was due to arrogance on our part, the other side was due to some brilliant competitors. But my absolute focus is to take us from worst to first and this new product is a big part of that.’
Sometimes, great business leaders aren’t great communicators in live interview situations. Some PR companies are great at product launches but don’t know how to handle BBC journalists. In those situations, media training can really help.