Does Kate Middleton Need Media Training?

Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement earlier this week. Perhaps you’ve heard?

Their joint television interview on Tuesday was seen by 14 million people in Britain alone. During the interview, Kate appeared nervous and hesitant at times while answering the reporter’s questions, prompting the Today Show’s Meredith Vieira to wonder whether she’s had media training. Dozens of people in the Twitterverse posed the same question, some more kindly than others.

A good example of Ms. Middleton’s interview performance came when the interviewer asked her about Princess Diana:

“Well, obviously it would be, ummm, I would love to have met her. Ummm…and, and obviously, she’s, she’s an inspirational woman to look up to. Ummm…obviously to this day and going forward and things. You know, it’s, you know, it’s a wonderful family.”

Is Ms. Middleton the most eloquent spokesperson? No. But it doesn’t matter.

Overall, she comes across with authenticity, a critical ingredient for her to be viewed favorably. She seems poised and respectful, gracefully deflecting the interviewer’s most invasive questions. And although her vulnerability and awkwardness is usually a liability for public figures, they seem exactly right for a 28-year-old who is suddenly the biggest story in the world.

So, back to the question of this article: Does Kate Middleton need media training?

Well, yes – but not because she didn’t represent herself well enough in this interview. Rather, a good media trainer could help her feel more comfortable as a public figure.

Ms. Middleton seems to be struggling with determining the fine line between her public persona and her personal life. A good media trainer can help her navigate that turf by helping her develop answers that satisfy both. Media training can also help her deliver more articulate answers, something the public will likely expect of her as she gains experience in the limelight.

In the meantime, I’d tell the Twitterverse to chill out. Ms. Middleton is young, already has a lot of the most critical communications elements in place, and will almost certainly develop the necessary polish along the way.

Update: I just came across a 2005 article which says Kate Middleton did, in fact, receive media training. Spokesperson training should not be a one-time event, however, and Ms. Middleton would benefit from regular refresher courses.

Related: Toronto’s New Mayor Needs Media Training