I have no idea why, but today, I’m prompted to share some hints a tips on press conferences.
Some key principles:
- Unless you have something earth-shattering to communicate to all of the media, at the same time – don’t do a press conference; for businesses a conference call is often more effective
- Use the first couple of minutes for an opening statement, covering the two or three key messages you want to get out during the session
- Answer the question, then shut up; if in doubt, leave it out
- Use answers to communicate your two, or maximum three key messages
- Don’t talk about yourself, or how good you are, the size of your brain, or how unfairly treated you feel
- Don’t insult the journalists and don’t belittle them, their questions or their news organisations
- If you have answered the question previously, you don’t have to include that answer to other questions
- Use simple language, especially if the topic is complex or technical, but don’t use slang and don’t swear. If you have to explain a phrase, like ‘con-job’, you shouldn’t use it
- Don’t call people who are not in the room ‘dishonest’, ‘low-life’ or ‘bad people’ – they can’t defend themselves at the event, but will definitely get even later
- Press conferences are streamed, so both friends and opponents can selectively cut your comments and post them on social media to support or harm you. So keep the messages as simple as possible
Anything I missed?
With thanks to my mate and all-round comms expert, @liamherbert, who sometimes sanity-tests my drafts.
Photo: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, October 26, 1973.