Anil Thakraney: Mr Khurshid, you screwed up!

17 Oct,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Watching Mr and Mrs Salman Khurshid in action at a press conference on Sunday told me how little even an exalted minister is aware of how to hold a successful press meet. He was responding to accusations of forgery and corruption involving an NGO he heads. Recently, a corporate friend told me that some organizations hold workshops on how to deal with the media. This is a good idea, and our politicians must also organize such training programmes for themselves.


Khurshid conducted himself so shabbily that as a viewer, one was left wondering if one had erroneously switched into the Bigg Boss mad house. Although I don’t participate in these gigs, here are some commonsense tips on how to hold a successful press meet. And how not to make a bungling fool of yourself, as Khurshid certainly did.


One, never, never, never lose your cool, no matter how agitated you are in the head, no matter how serious the charges are. Demonstrating anger in a press conference shows you in a very poor light, the public opinion directly goes against you. Always be in control.


Two, be coherent in your statements, do your homework before you arrive at the meet. You already know the type of questions that will come your way, therefore keep your answers ready and keep them pithy. If you fly off on a tangent (as Khurshid frequently did), it will confuse not just the journalists but the public who will eventually consume the event. And when that happens, the entire purpose of the conference is lost.


Three, do not be rude with journalists, no matter how provocative the questions are, no matter how aggressive their body language is. Definitely no ‘You there, shut up!’ The moment you speak crassly at a press conference, you have already lost the battle. In Khurshid’s case, he has an axe to grind with the India Today group. But behaving politely with their reporters would have scored the man some easy brownie points.


Four, never, never have an entourage of chamchas and groupies stand right behind you. This shows you are not confident, and are using your minions as a crutch. This enhances the perception of guilt. Stand in the line of fire all alone. Particularly so if the accusations are personally targeted at you.


Five, and this is specific to Khurshid (therefore, dear militant feminists, please spare me the knives). Do not invite your missus to sit next to you at a press meet. Even if she happens to be the co-accused. Be a man and deal with the heat on your own. And I say this also because, if your partner happens to be an edgy and a restless soul (which Mrs Khurshid clearly is), she will mess up your show more than it already is.


 Anil Thakraney, Editor-at-Large,MxMIndia, is a senior journalist and commentator based in Mumbai. The views here are his own

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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Mr Khurshid, you screwed up!”

  1. p2 says:

    COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU jst wrote wht was on my mind, last one (point No.5) is straight from the heart!!