I'm sure you've seen it. It's the 10 o'clock news on a Monday night and you're watching an interview with a politician or other 'name' on the telly.
And there they are. Shirt sleeves. Open neck collar. Wearing shorts probably. But thankfully the shorts are out of camera shot. And then you realise 15 seconds into their 20 second soundbite that you haven't heard a word of what they're talking about. Your focus has been on how they look. And jolly silly it is too you confirm to your partner.
So what's going on here? One of our Government ministers or a Union boss showing a free spirit? Maybe they're making a stand against conformity? Perhaps it's a mid life crisis?
No. Nothing so dramatic. He was asked on Sunday morning if he was available to be interviewed about the ongoing crisis.
Of course was the answer. It's his area of expertise and he would be pleased to make his point of view public to help his side's cause in the ongoing dispute.
It's Sunday so we'll be with you about 4pm, says the voice on the other end of the phone.
We can film you in the garden if that's OK?
Perfect, comes the reply.
I'll have lunch with the family as planned and be ready for you in the afternoon. The garden's fine.
You're dressed for Sunday. It's a lovely day. And you've had a sociable afternoon when the doorbell rings.
Ah, come through, you say to the camera crew.
Go into the garden and set up. I'll be with you in a moment. And as they go you take a quick glance in the mirror. Smooth your hair down and prepare yourself for your interview. And there you are. In your own garden on a Sunday afternoon. Dressed in shorts and casual shirt. And off you go answering the expected questions in what you feel is a professional, clear and compelling manner.
The thing that pretty much nullifies everything you say. On Monday night, when it's dark outside and a lot chillier than it was at the weekend there you are in your Sunday vest. Appropriate at the time of filming. Inappropriate now after 10pm on a Monday night. And that's why most of the audience watching you will note your appearance and spend the most part of your edited highlight smirking and asking:
Whatever does he look like?
The lesson here is simple. If you've been invited to be interviewed make sure you're dressed for your role. You know better than anyone the image that needs to be projected for the job that you do.
You never know when your recorded media interview will see the light of day. So ignore your domestic surroundings. Change out of those Sunday clothes. Make sure you're seen in your work clothes and look the part your audience expects to see.
Then and only then do you stand a chance of getting your message across.
And the way you answer the questions is crucial too.
But that's for another day.