Somewhere along the line, political consultants must have told politicians and their spokespeople to repeat their answers over and over again. The logic behind their recommendation: News organizations often have space for only a single quote per person, so if you utter the same sentence over and over again, they'll be forced to use it.
That may have worked many years ago, but it doesn't work anymore. Today's reporters shame repetitive pols by releasing the video of their full, evasive, interview. And it's not just broadcast reporters who shame obfuscating politicians — print reporters often post the video to their newspaper websites as well.
Ed Miliband, Leader of the British Labour Party, offered a classic example of why the "repeat your message" strategy doesn't work anymore. In this video — which received hundreds of thousands of views and temporarily made Miliband a laughingstock — he repeats his exact same message five times.
And see if you can spot the message in this 2008 press conference delivered by Cullen Sheehan, then the spokesperson for Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).
Brad Phillips writes in his new book, The Media Training Bible, that such overt repetition tends to infuriate the audience. Instead, he recommends that politicians repeat the themes of their messages in every answer by using a combination of stories, statistics, and sound bites. By using variety, spokespeople can ensure that they stay "on message" without ever being overly redundant.
It's a good lesson for anyone who wants to be an effective communicator.
- WATCH: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly spar over the Obama scandals
- Could the Cleveland kidnapping victims have been rescued sooner?
- WATCH: Suspect defends brutal beheading of London man in broad daylight
- Sadly, you are uglier than you think
- A linguistic dissection of 7 annoying teenage sounds
- How the White House's war on media backfired
- 10 things you need to know today: May 23, 2013
- WATCH: LeBron James' unbelievable, last-second, game-winning shot
- Is Greek yogurt hurting the environment?
- 6 chilling revelations from the Cleveland kidnapping ordeal
- The politics behind Kanye West's 'New Slaves'
- Are we on the cusp of a solar energy boom?
- Why Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn doesn't want tornado relief money
- WATCH: Jon Stewart hates everyone in Washington now
- LIVE UPDATES: Massive tornado tears through Oklahoma City area
- Angry at the government? 5 ways you can fight back
- 7 purported health benefits of drinking coffee
- What is a quantum computer — and why does Google need one?
- Why NASA is funding a 3D pizza printer
- The cool backstory of the Slurpee