In his first televised interview for his book A Higher Loyalty – Truth, Lies and Leadership, former FBI Director James Comey used strong, proven methods on how to own your message — ones that any public speaker could mimic.
In Comey’s prime-time interview with George Stephanopoulos on April 15, Comey called President Donald Trump a “person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly.”
Axios spotted repetition early in Comey’s book tour, pointing the very next morning, “Comey used almost identical wording in an interview in…USA Today, calling Trump ‘someone who is able to see moral equivalence in Charlottesville or to speak and treat women like they’re pieces of meat and to lie constantly.’”
This verbatim tactic is not surprising to any public speaker who knows how to control his or her own message. There is no need to change wording, examples or opinions with every new set of questions.
Expect Comey’s comments to vary minimally in the first round of his media interviews regarding his tell-all. Why? Because he knows what he wants to say, (perhaps more importantly) what he is not willing to say, and won’t be swayed by interviewers with leading questions, opinions disguised as questions — or even veiled accusations.
Axios AM’s Mike Allen noted, “Comey made it clear that, like a skilled political candidate, he’ll be repeating a specific message with fervor and discipline on a coast-to-coast book tour that includes a saturation schedule of interviews and audience events.”
Fervor and discipline. If only every person who did a media interview or spoke to a crowd used this one-two punch. If every knowledgable person came to a microphone with fervor and discipline — a passionate message and the rigor to keep that message focussed — then every interview, panel discussion and board meeting would be infinitely more effective.
The best speakers own their message. They prepare what they want to get across, and how to best drive a point home. They don’t deviate from it. After all, regardless of what type of questions are thrown at them, what kind of atmosphere is created or even whether an interviewer has an agenda, the speaker has the right answer already thought out. And they convey it with fervor and discipline.