Preparing People to Talk to the Media
IF YOU JUST HAVE A FEW MINUTES
Explain what is going to happen. If it’s a news conference, briefly go through what that is, how it is conducted, where and when they will speak, and what to wear. If it's a phone interview, tell them how it will work, who will contact whom, and how long it may last.
Explain how their interview fits into our overall campaign and our effort to connect to the public interest. How is talking to the public via the media different than talking to their friends or co-workers? How will connecting to the public interest help us win? Why are they a good messenger to get the public interest angle across? How are our opponents trying to paint us into a special interest corner? How will the media frame the issues if left to their own devices? What do we have to avoid so we don't play into our opponents' hands?
eing an Effective Spokesperson
Prepare to frame the story
- Public interest
- Public values
- Who are "we" speaking for?
Reinforce the frame by making the right choices on…
- Tone - reasonable, problem solving, likeable
- Spokespeople - workers, community members, users of services, allies, elected officials, leaders/staff
- Examples - the right statistics and anecdotes
- Vocabulary - understandable, not jargon; tap into public values
- Sound bites - not just quotable but reinforces frame; 12 to 20 words
- Visuals - what background or choice of location reinforces frame?
- Vehicles - TV? Radio? Print? Web? Direct mail? Paid ads? No media?
- Prepare yourself.
- Take time to plan frame, tone, vocabulary, sound bites.
- Write down what you plan to say.
- Practice your main message and dealing with likely questions.