How refreshing to hear someone in the public eye say I need to give it more thought. In our world of all at once ness, instant communications and sound bite opportunistic politics we have become accustomed to public figures having a view on everything and an instant response for any question. What it often leads to is very shallow polarised debate, an expectation that celebrities have an answer to anything, or even the trite and vacuous media speak that coach those put on the spot to say something that means nothing and leads to the development of execrable phrases like “going forward”!
So how refreshing when someone asked a question has the courage to say – “Actually I will give that a bit more thought.” Now David Cameron is not a chap I see eye to eye on a lot, nor do I have much in common with him but credit where credit is due that is what he said yesterday when questioned about the privacy debate currently going on regarding judges awarding gagging orders to public figures whose privacy is alleged to have been invaded. The debate I will leave for another day, but Cameron said he was uncomfortable with the situation but added that he needed to give it a bit more thought and for that alone he has earned my respect as it is a rare quality.
Archbishop Rowan Williams – another man I have little in common with – I don’t even have a beard – did much the same once when being interviewed on the radio. He was asked a question and asked for time to think before answering. Now this is a chap who is very sharp so it wasn’t that he was struggling its just that he felt a need to consider. It was such an unusual thing to hear that it struck em at the time and has stayed with me since and for all my considerable distaste for organsiaed religion I have to say that this episode causes me to have respect for the Archbishop as a thinker and a man of refelction and probably principle.
I have always used the same method when interviewing, be it recruitment or other occasions. It seems to me that offering an opportunity for an interviewee to consider their response, or respect their request for time to think, will generally produce a much more insightful contribution that the panicked platitudes and buzz words that a flustered candidate might produce.
So lets hear it for consideration and reflection and the application of the Mk 1 brain – it is after all the essence of knowledge as a verb!