Advice on how to survive a Parliamentary grilling

Bamboozle the committee with new evidence, learn how to blink like a human and make sure to shed a few tears – The Independent’s panel of experts have invaluable advice for Rebekah Brooks and the Murdoch father and son if they want to emerge from Tuesday’s Parliamentary grilling with their reputations enhanced.

Dee Cannon, a leading acting coach who has worked with Jon Voigt and Courtney Love, said: “Vulnerability is the key. They have to come across as open and soft, to show humility, shock at what has gone on and an acceptance of blame.”

Ms Cannon, former senior acting coach at Rada, said: “James (Murdoch) doesn’t blink and that’s very off-putting. It gives the appearance of being robotic and overly intense. No-one will perceive you as being vulnerable if you don’t blink. They must avoid anything that comes across as being snippy, over-confident or arrogant.”

Rebekah could shed a tear when the Milly Dowler allegations are aired. “It can become emotional and moistened eyes are ok as long as she doesn’t cross the line in to weeping.”

Like actors, the trio must work out an “objective” for the scene. “They need to know what the goal is. In this case it is exoneration. That comes from being soft and showing you are connected as a person to your own feelings.”

Ms Cannon advises the witnesses to take deep breath inhalations, in order to deliver oxygen to the brain, in a private room before the hearing starts.

To help relieve visible facial stress, the witnesses should scrunch up their faces (think Les Dawson) and release after a few seconds, Ms Cannon said.

Max Clifford, the PR guru, said the witnesses should catch their inquisitors off-guard: “I would advise them to come armed with new evidence that they can use to convince people who are extremely doubtful that they are telling the truth,” he said.

“Rebekah has been leading this investigation for the past two years .They know where the bodies are buried and have all the information.”

The Murdoch clan could muddy the waters. “They need to make the point that there are vested interests here,” Clifford said. “The wider media is out to destroy the competition. They need to make sure the inquiry spreads to other tabloid papers.”

“This is a platform for them to defend themselves vigorously. I encouraged Rebekah to do this years ago. I left a message for her to say how sorry I am (after she resigned). If she wants more advice before Tuesday, she knows where I am.”

“Rebekah’s got to nail the Milly Dowler allegation. That is the most important one. She told me there is now way she knew about any of these investigations whatsoever and I believe her.”

“The best they can hope for is that the British people believe that they had no knowledge or involvement in any shape or form in those activities.”

Alastair Sava, a communications psychology expert at the Leadership Agency, said: “Sit up straight. If they don’t sit straight, then they’re not straight; they’re crooked. The body is a picture, and if you look uncomfortable or unreceptive then people will read into that.”

The witnesses should employ a “good make-up artist” to mask any sweating and make constant eye contact. Mr Sava said: “They should make use of silence; this will indicate sincere reflection and a measured, non-panicked response.”

He concluded: “An optimistic mindset is important, it feeds behaviour and communication; if Brooks and the Murdochs think that they have done something wrong, then they will appear guilty. People often criminalise themselves by acting overly defensive, thus invoking suspicion amongst the audience.”

However despite the expectations of fireworks next Tuesday, Mark Stephens, the leading media lawyer, predicted a “slow, tedious and painful” hearing.

He said: “It could be a damp squib. They will bring a retinue of lawyers and refuse to answer anything that might compromise ongoing investigations.”

Just being obstructive won’t be enough though. Mr Stephens said: “It needs care and you need a co-ordinated strategy. If you selectively answer some questions but not others it could point to the area where you are guilty.”

“There are sanctions for lying to Parliament. Not giving honest answers could lead them not to be regarded as fit and proper persons to hold a television licence.

“The flaw in the system is that MPs are not forensically trained like barristers to cross-examine the eye-teeth out of people.”

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices