Of all of the advice I give to my media training clients regarding answering questions in a media interview, the hardest concept for people to grasp is the need to communicate all three of your message points in every answer (that’s EVERY answer). When I tell people this, they think that I am kidding, or they think that I meant to say, “All three message points during the courseof the interview.” That’s not what I am saying. I urge people to try to say all three of their message points in every single answer.
“But TJ,” they cry. “I’ll sound insane! Reporters will run away from me.”
No, they won’t. The trick is not to sound like a computer or a broken record. You want to hit all three of your message points in each answer, but do it in a different order, using different examples and different words.
If you aim for all three message points and you only get to one or two before the reporter cuts you off or interrupts you, well, then you at least hit one or two – not bad.
The mistake many novices make is that they deliver all three of their message points exactly once, often near the beginning of the interview. Then they proceed to answer questions in a totally reactive way for the next 30 minutes. At the end of the interview, the reporter looks down at his or her notes and sees 57 separate message points, each delivered exactly once – therefore none stand out. The reporter then selects two or three at random these 57 points.
If you are happy with a 3 in 57 chance of success, continue to use this strategy. If you want to increase the odds that the message you care about actually ends up in the story, you must be more proactive, specifically by trying to interject all three of your message points in each answer.
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