Monday, February 1, 2010


This week's perspective from Orli Giroux Namian:

I can just picture the steam coming out of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ears. While speculation around Apple’s new product launch has been running at fever pitch, Jobs, famous for creating build-up and hype surrounding a launch, had still managed to keep a lid on many of the iPad’s finer details. Cue Terry McGraw, CEO of McGraw Hill, who appeared on CNBC to discuss the major publishing house’s fourth-quarter earnings. It seemed like a pretty innocuous interview, up until he ended up spilling the beans on the hotly anticipated device. “Yes, they'll make their announcement tomorrow on this one. We have worked with Apple for quite a while. And the Tablet is going to be based on the iPhone operating system and so it will be transferable. So what you are going to be able to do now – we have a consortium of e-books. And we have 95% of all our materials that are in e-book format on that one. So now with the tablet you're going to open up the higher education market, the professional market. The tablet is going to be just really terrific." What followed was a failed attempt at damage control by a McGraw Hill spokesperson, a whirlwind of media reports on Apple’s new tablet device and, one can only presume, some deep displeasure among the folks at Apple. The communications lesson learned here is classic. In an interview, only answer questions related to yourself and your subject matter expertise; don’t speak on behalf of others, be it your competition or your partners. A savvy interviewer, as is CNBC’s Erin Burnett, will run the gamut of relevant topics, relax the interviewee and just when you think your prime time moment is over, casually toss out the very question they’ve wanted to ask you all along. Burnett did just that with her question about Apple and McGraw took an extra-large bite.

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