Reporter Eve Lazarus described how she had sat through a media training session arranged for a young jewelry designer who had won an award for designing a right-hand diamond engagement ring. The designer's employer believed the award would be a good way to generate free publicity. But before unleashing the young designer on unsuspecting reporters, media training was arranged.
In the article, Lazarus listened to a consultant provide the following advice during the media training session: "Get your message out, don't let a reporter interrupt you, try not to speak too quickly and try not to get off track with what you are there to talk about.
"They are going to ask you a question, you are going to answer with your key message, they are going to ask you another question, and you are going to have a second or third key message."
Maybe it's just me, but I just don't understand this logic.
The company has good news to share. They are cranking up the media relations machine to get reporters interested in their story. They're hoping the editors will respond by sending out a reporter, which will then result in "free" publicity for the firm.
When the reporter begins asking questions (which is, after all, what reporters do for a living), the spokesperson is going to ignore their questions and keep driving home key messages.
It sounds like an interesting way to develop relationships with reporters. You get us interested so we'll ask questions. When we ask them, you rudely ignore them and keep parroting key messages that would look better in an advertisement than a feature article. I wonder what will happen the next time the organization (or its agency) sends out a news release. If you were the editor, what would you do? I'd delete it in less time than it takes the average consultant to say "key message."
Copyright © Eric Bergman 2005 All Rights Reserved
￼Eric Bergman, BPA, ABC, APR, MC, has provided media coaching for more than 30 years. His media training program, At Ease With the Media, has helped thousands of spokespeople from five continents manage exchanges with journalists to win-win outcomes, while protecting themselves and their organization.
With the publication of his first book in 2006 by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Media Training With Excellence, he set the standard for a modern, balanced media training approach that offers organizations a clear alternative to the outdated paradigm of staying on message or constantly bridging to messages.
Eric holds a bachelor of professional arts in communication studies from Athabasca University and a two-year diploma in advertising and public relations from Grant MacEwan College. He is an accredited business communicator, an accredited public relations practitioner and a master communicator, which is the highest distinction that can be awarded an IABC member in Canada.
Contact Eric if you’d like to arrange training for your organization.