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Tony Abbott’s hilariously wrong choice of word (using suppository of wisdom instead of repository) can teach us all valuable lessons.
Here’s a link to a video of the gaffe:
I am not connected in any way with Tony Abbott ( or Stephanie Banister). I am not attacking or defending their mistakes – I just use their gaffes as examples of the importance of preparing for media interviews or presentations.
Tip #1. If YOU are preparing for speeches or media interviews – check any expression you are unsure of. The internet is a quick resource to check. However – check your source as many mistakes flourish on the internet. Maybe book mark reliable sources and references for finding the correct expressions.
O.K. – What if you THINK you are using the right expression? You don’t know you are using the wrong word/s.
Tip #2. It helps to run your “content” or answers past other people in a practice session – people who may be able to catch the error before you make it publicly.
I would hope that Mr Abbott would have support people who would have known the difference between suppository and repository!
Then again, maybe Tony Abbott’s mistake was deliberate – trying to appeal pacificly to the Kath & Kim audience!
Calling Islam a country
Last week, I heard a news report where LNP Candidate Stephanie Banister candidate complained that the media was unfair and that she wasn’t prepared.
You can see here – so many gaffes:
From my understanding, Stephanie says she later corrected her errors but the media reported only the errors.
I may be old school (from how my old news bosses taught me to report) – but I think the media can run the initial errors (that makes the good story) – but then mention the whole truth – that she later corrected the errors.
Maybe they would save the corrrection angle for a second story – as a good excuse to re-run all the original footage.
These days, when I help corporate and political media talent – I advise the talent or one of their helpers to record the media interview so the media organisation would know that YOU have proof of later correcting an error. (tip #3)
YOU often see the experienced politicians have their helpers also recording the interviews.
I say GET PREPARED – before you face the media OR any other audience you present to.
Reporters often get their expressions wrong too!
Speaking of the media – lots of reporters get expressions wrong too.
I remember a TV reporter calling the US Secret Service the SS.
Also, on TV news last night a reporter was talking about BUNKERING DOWN when the correct expression is HUNKERING DOWN.
I know BUNKERING DOWN sounds right (as if you are going into a BUNKER) – but that expression is incorrect:
The BUNKERING DOWN error is not as funny as SUPPOSITORIES – but news organisations should catch these errors and teach reporters the correct expressions.
Tip #4: Media organisations should inform staff of common word confusion mistakes – especially with cliched expressions. associated with different rounds.
e.g. it’s the jewel in the crown NOT the duel in the crown
I made mistakes as a young reporter and needed to be corrected by my bosses.
One mistake I always remember being corrected on:
It’s TOE the line – not TOW the line
So the lessons for us all from Tony Abbott’s suppository gaffe:
1. Check on any expressions you are unsure of
2. Run your material past others who may be able to catch any wrong expressions
3. Record your media interview so you have proof of all you said
4. (Media organisations should) Brief reporters on the correct expressions – especially the cliches that usually go with certain rounds
Anyway, I better go BUNKER DOWN and do some work so I can be a SUPPOSITORY of wisdom for my clients.
What do you think about people using the wrong expressions?
Do you have any examples of word confusion – by talent OR by the media?
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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.
I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.
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