In the world of media training and media interviews, there are some serious flaws you should avoid at all costs—especially when you must do a media interview during a crisis.
Remember these truths:
Media training is not about how to be fast on your feet; it is about how to be prepared so there are no surprise questions. Your goal is not to answer every question. Your goal should be to control the questions you get asked, the answers you give, and ultimately to control the final edit of the news stories about your crisis. Three key messages based on bullet points is an asinine concept and should be eradicated. Well-worded, internalized, verbatim sentences and quotes must be your spokesperson’s secret weapon.
Your best bet for your spokesperson? Read from a script. The pre-written news release should be your script for your news conference. Your news release should proactively answer every question you are going to be asked.
“That’s impossible,” you say?
“How can that be done,” you ask?
I bet you are thinking, “No one knows every question you are going to be asked in a news conference.”
Surprise. There are only two types of questions that get asked in a news conference.
Fact-based questions, such as who, what, when, where. Speculation based questions, such as how and why.
Put the facts in your news release. Read the facts in your news conference from your script.
Next, deflect speculative questions with pre-written answers such as:
Regarding the exact cause of the explosion, at