Media conferences are great opportunities for you to add further gloss to your company or defend its record – or both.
- What is the media conference all about? Is the situation/topic a positive or negative one?
- What specific information will the journalists be looking for?
- What is my core message? Are there any sub points? If you have more than 3 main points, your message will not achieve its purpose. What do I want the journalists to publish or broadcast?
- Is there a Q&A session? A Q&A session will indicate transparency and goodwill – the opposite will be true if you decide not to take questions at the end of your presentation. What are the likely tough questions I will be asked?
- Once you know the answers to the above questions, you can start preparing for the media conference.
- If it is a very sensitive issue, it will be best to write out your speech in full, so that there will be no errors. This will also enable you to edit your speech. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this, you need to have the main messages as bullet points on note cards. Number the note cards and take them with you to the media conference.
- If you have a communications division, it is best to rehearse your speech in front of a communications professional and/or a senior trusted member of your management team.
- You and your team should come up with a list of the toughest questions that you might be asked. The above rehearsal must also include your answering the tough questions.
- At the Q&A, make sure you first answer the question posed by the journalist and then immediately plug in one of your top 3 points. This technique is called “satisfy and steer” (Virgil Scudder): satisfy the journalist’s question, then steer the conversation to one of your main points.
- If you can videotape your presentation and play back, you will learn what changes to make to enhance the effectiveness of your speech and cut down distractions.