Sunday, May 9, 2010

Help! There’s a Reporter on the Line!

Business owners and professionals can feel a stab of fear when the media comes calling. “Will they make me look like an idiot?” “Will they misquote me?” “What if I say something really stupid?” These are common thoughts before answering a media request.

As a PR person who trains clients on how to gracefully and powerfully interact with the media, here are some tips on how to make the most of the opportunity media attention provides.

1. Take a deep breath. Recognize that fearful thoughts are completely normal when stepping into uncharted territory. The media would not be calling you if they didn’t think you had something of interest to share.

2. Organize your thoughts. Before calling the reporter back, take a moment to think about what your goals are for the conversation. Do you have a main point you want to get across? You should.

3. Keep it simple. Today’s media coverage is concise and snappy. Make your remarks succinct and memorable. If there are areas where you feel vague, practice until you can sharply clarify your message.

4. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” No one knows everything. If you are asked a question you don’t have the answer to, simply say so without undue apology. Offer to track down the information and forward it by email.

5. It’s okay to not talk about everything. While transparency can be a powerful tool in enhancing a corporate reputation, it is not always possible or appropriate. If you’re asked something you’re not able to talk about, simply tell the reporter by saying something like, “Our policy is not to release our sales figures,” or “I’m not able to disclose that, however I can tell you….”

With these tips, your media interview will help you and your company to truly shine in the spotlight.

©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.

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