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However, and to state this as gently as possible, with a little training, there is so much that could have been improved with that interview. After all, this was an important interview because Prof. Grotto was representing Israel and delivering a particularly important message about our success in this vaccination campaign.
We are all proud of the fact that we are leading the world in terms of the per capita vaccine rate and our health infrastructure is perfectly suited for this kind of rollout. The world is watching us very closely. As such, it would have been fantastic if Prof. Grotto embodied the success of the subject matter. He was lacking in energy, was not particularly engaging and his physical set-up left a lot to be desired.
Simple Steps – Big Difference
Are you ready for your close-up?
Let us start with a few simple steps that would have improved his presentation dramatically. When being interviewed on zoom, you need to make sure that the camera is at a height that it can be angled slightly down at you. As you can see in the image below, the camera is pitched up creating one of the most unflattering angles possible. It is not as extreme as some that I have seen but even so, it is still unappealing.
Set the Stage
It is also important to think about the background. Let’s face it, a shuttered window is not the most inspiring look. A white wall, with the Israel flag in the background, maybe a bookshelf or a plant would have positioned him in a more professional way. As it was, Prof. Grotto wore an off-white shirt with a grey background compounding the grey atmosphere. A pop of color would have worked wonders.
Connecting is Key
Throughout the interview, Prof. Grotto did not look at the camera, missing a huge opportunity to connect with the viewers. In fact, he had his eyes closed for a significant part of the interview, physically shutting out any potential to connect and engage. This would have led to many viewers “switching off” and not listening to the important message he had to convey.
I commend Prof. Grotto on having his speaking points well through out and prepared. This is vital for any interview situation particularly when there is an important message to be conveyed. He would have benefited from weaving a story around the message, after all, that is what we, as human beings, ultimately connect with, and there is a great story here just waiting to be told.
Finally, I know that English is his second language, but it is the most common language of communication in business. Viewers are sympathetic to non-native English speakers but regardless of the accent, articulation, intonation, and pronunciation are easy to correct. After all, you want viewers to understand what you are saying. Swallowing words and superfluous “ehs” (in English, um) littering the responses could have been addressed.
The Need to Raise the Bar in Interviews
This article is not meant to take away from Prof. Grotto’s incredible work. Quite the contrary. I am immensely proud of our country’s achievements. It just breaks my heart to see such great opportunities missed. This interview presented an opportunity to highlight the skill set gap that exists even in high-level executive positions. There is room for improvement and there are valuable lessons that can be learned to elevate our success even further.
Daniella Crankshaw is the Co-Founder and Artistic Executive Director of Center Stage, the first and only professional English theatre venue in Israel. As part of their offering, Center Stage provides active learning workshops for soft skills by drawing on skills learned in the theater such for teamwork, collaboration, leadership, engagement, communication and more.
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