Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Speaking to the media

We have all seen it on TV... the interview on the courthouse steps with a million microphones all crammed in front of the attorney's face.

How many of us would be able to handle such a situation? What if we practiced it at a Toastmasters meeting as a TableTopics exercise?

Here are some pointers that I got from a recent e-newsletter from TJ Walker, a speaking consultant who helps people craft their message for the media ...
Preparing your Message for the Interview
  1. Don’t talk to reporters without giving yourself time to prepare the message.

  2. Don’t dodge questions!

  3. Answer the question in eight seconds or less and bridge back to your main message for the next 25 seconds or so.

  4. If a reporter asks you a complex, detailed, five-part question, focus on answering the one question that leads you back to talking about your message points.

  5. When listening to a reporter’s question (and you must listen very carefully), don’t think about how your vast database of knowledge can provide 10,000 new facts to answer every nuance of the reporter’s question. Instead, focus on how you can honestly answer the question in a way that allows you to talk about one, two, or three of your message points.

  6. Remember, questions don’t matter. The subject matters.
Now, you just have to come up with some scenarios to serve up to your club members as TableTopics !

Here are some suggestions ("torn from headlines", so to speak) ...
  • CEO indited for misappropriation of company funds
  • Celebrity arrested for ...
  • Tradeshow TV reporters asking about your newest widget
  • Politician caught ... (too many possibilities here)
  • Evangelist asked about his role in the organization
I'm sure you can think of even more!

Have Fun with it !
(and help your club learn to cope with the media)

Dave Wheeler

1 comment:

Public Speaking Courses said...

They are great points. Have never really been a fan of media interviews. They will always twist what you say. I suppose that make TJ Walkers points even more important!


Darren Fleming