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10 simple yet vital tips when planning to speak to the media

May 24, 2017

You’ve sent out newsworthy information, was contacted for an interview and are now ready to speak to the media. Not quite! Speaking to the media involves planning and tact. How you represent yourself and your organization is important, including what you want to say and how you say it. Below are 10 tips that are simple but vital in preparing you to speak with reporters, and help you receive great coverage for your company in the media.

1) Know your objectives

What is the key message you want to convey to the media? Consider including 2-3 secondary supporting points. Gather facts, statistics, and figures to increase credibility.
Keep your key message at the forefront when you're speaking so that you don't trail off when being interviewed by reporters.

2) Know your audience

Who are you talking to and why does it concern them? This includes the media and the public. Consider whether this opportunity is of value to you and your key publics. Knowing your audience will not only garner you the attention you're looking for but also increase the chances of having your audience respond accordingly.

3) Outline your speech

Outlining your speech will get your message out a lot smoother and clearer. Consider how you will transition from one point to the other. How will you engage the audience? What is the one message people will walk away with?

4) Anticipate questions from reporters

Write out a list of possible questions reporters may ask you. It’s not fun being caught off guard. Create responses to the possible questions that are likely to be asked. Examples of possible questions can be Who or what benefits? Is it something new or unique? Remember to keep your responses clear and credible.

5) Prepare a written summary

Preparing a written summary of your speech and supporting points to be left behind with reporters is a good idea. It will help the reporters gain a better perspective and precisely evaluate your key message. In formal situations, a copy of your speech is expected.

6) Be clear and to the point

Your first 20 words are critical so keep your sentences short, clear and to the point. Try to minimize each point in 40-60 words. Once you’ve made your point, stop talking. The reporter will understand that you are done speaking and will resume. Avoid filling in silence with additional words that may weaken the message you're trying to convey. Speak in terms that easily understood. Try to avoid technical and professional jargon.

7) Tell stories and anecdotes

Stories and anecdotes can help illustrate your point and provide examples. Include experiences and expert comments if you can. They help to increase the credibility of what you're trying to say. The use of analogies is also advantageous as it can create clarity and powerful comparisons.

8) Practice your speech

Nothing is better than knowing how you sound before making an important public speech. That’s why recording yourself while practicing your speech is ideal. You’ll not only be able to see which areas need improvement, or require more attention, but also recognize the areas that are strong and make a statement. Make changes where necessary to your outline, and practice again. This can help focus your thinking.

9) Speak, don’t read

When it comes to speaking, engagement is required. It’s difficult for any audience to be engaged when the speaker is reading from a sheet of paper. The spoken word portrays authority, vigour, interest, conviction and empathy. An outline will help to keep you on track.

10) Assume everything you say is “on the record”

When it comes to speaking to reporters there is no “off the record”. Every word exchanged within the interview is considered fair game. Be selective what you choose to say. If you don’t want to see it in print, then its best you don’t say it.

Overall the goal when speaking to the media is to get your key message out to the public as precisely as possible. By planning your speech and knowing your audience prior to any interviews with reporters, you have a higher chance of having your message portrayed the way you expected it to be. Good Luck!

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For more information contact:
Tasha Meeuwenoord
Phone: -

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