Conversations with concerned people and journalists are part of your role as a corporate or political representative. It is essential to strike a balance between transparency, accountability and effective communication. This is the list you need to complete before entering the conversation.
- Stay up to date on current events, policy issues and your agenda.
- Anticipate possible questions and prepare key talking points.
- Make sure you know your core message well. And keep coming back to that.
Respect the Freedom of the Press:
- Journalists are useful. They contribute greatly to a transparent society. Recognize for yourself the essential role journalists play.
- Treat journalists with respect and courtesy, even when faced with tough questions. There are plenty of journalists who go for the soundbite and before you know it, you are wrong in the paper.
- Be accessible to the media. Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- If necessary, designate a portfolio holder as spokesperson within your team. Never speak up about something you are not about.
- Always tell the truth. Misleading or false statements damage your credibility.
- If you don’t know something, explain why and promise to provide information later.
Stay Calm and Controlled
- It’s not a face: Angry spokespeople. It’s fun for socials, though. So don’t get angry Stay calm, even when faced with aggressive or challenging questions.
- Avoid confrontational or defensive responses.
Techniques for Bridging and Diversion
- Make sure you always lead the conversation back to your key messages.
- Switch to topics you prefer to talk about when necessary.
Stay With the Message
- Focus on your main talking points and do not get distracted by unrelated issues.
- Avoid speculation or hypotheticals unless necessary.
– Provide clear and concise answers to questions.
– Avoid jargon or technical language that might confuse the audience.
– Pay attention to the questions and concerns of the questioner.
– Show that you are engaged and open to constructive dialogue.
– If a journalist asks inappropriate or off-topic questions, politely redirect the conversation.
– Answer questions about your private life with restraint. It’s not about you.
Avoid Personal Attacks
– Do not engage in personal attacks on journalists or their organizations.
– Focus on the issues, not individuals.
Prepare for Unexpected Interviews
Then suddenly someone stands in front of you. And you can’t leave. So always be prepared.
– Be ready for unexpected interviews or meetings with journalists.
– Stay composed and stick to your main talking points.
– Do what you promise. If you promise to provide information or clarification, make sure you do so promptly.
– Maintain open lines of communication with stakeholders to build trust.
Learn from Feedback
– Always remain critical. Get feedback from trusted advisors.
– Continually improve your communication skills.
– Take media training every once in a while. This will improve your presentation without coming across as artificial. .
– Don’t go into crisis communications yourself. Createl a crisis communication plan to address unexpected and stressful media interactions. In a real crisis, leave it to the professionals
– Be aware of any legal restrictions or obligations regarding interactions with data subjects.