Nine News Conference Niceties

News conferences often revolve around a high stakes issue — perhaps a crisis, a legislative initiative, or a product launch. Use these techniques to help you and your organization succeed during your next press briefing:

  1. Choose your spokespeople wisely. Maybe it’s your CEO, maybe not. And might you need additional experts to deal with technical issues?
  2. Hammer out your magnetic message. It must be air tight, succinct, and easy to recall if you have hopes of surviving rigorous media scrutiny.
  3. Organize a media training workshop to deal specifically with your upcoming news conference. Decide whether you have the expertise to handle this internally or need a consultant dedicated to media training.
  4. Make the rehearsal as authentic as possible. Bring in cameras and klieg lights, and a handful of co-workers to portray reporters.
  5. Fire questions at your spokespeople during your media training workshop. Sprinkle in some expected questions and some real hardballs.
  6. School your spokespeople in Q&A techniques, such as bridging, flagging, deflections, and sneak peeks.
  7. Make sure you have access to the room where your event will take place at least one hour ahead of time. This gives you time to iron out any technical kinks, offers your spokespeople time to get acclimated, and allows for a dry run.
  8. Instruct your spokespeople on how to control the crowd. They should be the ones to call upon questioners and bring the proceedings to a close.
  9. Spell out the ground rules for reporters in attendance. You can lean on those rules for more effective control when needed.

What other steps do you recommend when organizing news conferences for your company?



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