The power of a pithy message

“All cheques, no balances.” If a BBC Today programme presenter quotes your core message verbatim before your interview even begins, you are doing something right.

Shadow cabinet minister Rachel Reeves’s purpose for the interview was to galvanize support for returning government procurement contracts back to the NHS. Worthy, if hardly thrilling. But she pushed the topic right up the agenda by a pithy, slightly playful core message that neatly encapsulated her point of view and teed up the first question on the allegation that Tory ministers handed government contracts to friends and associates.

After that the interview played out as she will likely have hoped: Some detailed questioning enabling her to evidence her message with data, examples and a WhatsApp anecdote. And some broader questions on the Labour party which she used to land some decent soundbites. The kind of solid, if unexceptional, interview you’d expect from an experienced politician. But nobody will remember any of that. She aced this interview at the first stroke.