It’s probably easier to tear apart  interviews gone bad. As a media trainer, I’ve done plenty of that over the years. But did you catch the NBC News interview with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi? At the time, it was an exclusive with the new CEO and he was facing several negative news stories related to the ride sharing company. There had been a fatal accident in Arizona involving an Uber driver operating in autonomous mode who struck and killed a pedestrian. Additionally, the company was facing heat from whistle blowers who claimed the corporate environment at Uber resembled “Animal House”, and lacked diversity with questionable business practices.

If you missed the interview, it’s worth a look:

NBC Uber CEO Interview

There are several things here worth mentioning. First, the interview starts on a light note which I really like, Granted, that is more of a credit to the interviewer than the interviewee but notice how the CEO did not miss a beat and made light of the fact he walked to the studio instead of using an Uber. Well done. It also served as an ice breaker moment as he must have known the content would  get tougher. It’s always nice to show your human side, especially early on.

The tone of the interview changes about 1/2 way through, as the questions turn to corporate culture and the fatal accident. While some of the answers are expected and clearly rehearsed, Dara does a really nice job of stepping out of his CEO shoes and speaking to everyday people. Specifically, his tone is right on the mark. The viewer can detect his empathy for the victim and his sincerity in his responses. For those of you who have been in his shoes, this is not an easy place to be. From a legal perspective, you can only share so much about the incident and investigation but remain too stiff and “official”, and your message and good will intentions are lost. Along with his tone, Dara also does a really nice job of remaining conversational throughout the interview. Did you hear any industry jargon or overuse of technical terminology? I did not and that is one of the keys to communicating in a way that resonates with an audience.

Well done. A worthy example of how to to do a news interview while facing a crisis.