This ASVJ Study Guide is based on the Full Day Media Training Workshop given to thousands of National and State VMA Leaders. It provides a basic understanding of media journalism and is a good foundation for growth in all types of public media. The media industry is rapidly changing and while some types of media are struggling, others are booming and new ones even being born. With a basic understanding of clear and concise communications skills, one can more confidently approach media for their contributions, react when an urgent story erupts and be effective in their approach to communicating complex veterinary medical subjects in a “sound bite” world. Dr. Jim Humphries Executive Director American Society of Veterinary Journalists www.ASVJ.org
The approach I take here is learning media in four main concepts: Being Proactive or approaching media Being Reactive or what to do when media calls Being Effective or using your short valuable time to the maximum effectiveness Being Prepared or practicing these skills so they are more easily used in a real world situation.
These are quotes I’ve received from DVM’s who have undergone this training. You see that this is not so much ‘Media” training, but rather Communications training. The importance of communication skills cannot be understated, and are applicable with your colleagues, your clients, or even your children!
Media trained individuals make better medical communicators and especially as a medical/legal witness. Frankly, ALL communications will improve when you learn these basic skills of not only answering questions, but delivering your key message points in a skillful way that focuses quickly on your points, that dodges speculation and mostly ends in a positive way.
Let’s take a look at the world of media journalism as it is today. Some things may surprise you.
It cannot be over emphasized that local news is LOCAL!! It is where busy people turn for their capsule of news, sports, weather and special events in 30 minutes. The newscast is also the highest rated program in all time slots at most stations. Because of this, it demands the highest price for advertising time.
The big news here is that newspapers are closing across the nation. The Internet has grabbed the lion’s share of daily news gathering eyeballs. Local TV news has remained pretty steady while the national network news casts have dropped. Reasons have to do with distrust of national news, the feeling of distance of national news centers, fragmentation of cable news channels and frankly the polarization of our nation. Conservatives have many radio options, but precious little in the way of TV news. This is the main reason Fox News is winning 3 to 1 the cable news wars and why MSNBC and even the Nightly News are last.
This picture says it all. Although please remember, papers with staff cut backs and dwindling resources spell opportunity for you! A free well written animal health column may very well be welcomed by your local paper! In the social media section we’ll look at why this is happening.
The ** show areas where animal health / pet care stories might fall. As you can see there are many high scoring categories where your subject fits right in.
Television is unique. It provides viewers (users) up to the minute “moving pictures” and that will always work! Content Is King! The Internet gives video new future. Your TV story will get new life on their web site. News staff are facing cut backs and are producing the same or more amount of news with less staff (researchers, producers, writers etc.) If you come in with a story ready, visuals, video and your credibility as an “expert” you relieve some of these pressures. If you are easy to produce and help them fill their newscast with good information, they will ask you back! As you can see from the previous slides, animal stories can fall into many high scoring TV News categories – that means they are interested in you and what you offer their audience. Animals are VERY visual and BOTH newsworthy and entertaining. TV news is BOTH.
Radio has a huge but fragmented audience. Satellite radio is growing (XM and Sirius are now one) but they have over 500 channels. Big audience but each show is competing for a small sliver of the pie. News and drive times are the highest rated.
Print media is very frustrating because they fancy themselves as the “purists” in journalism, yet they are notoriously the most inaccurate, sloppy, lazy and careless. Print media is, however, important in some ways. Much of television comes from print (the TV producers are lazy too. Many just don’t have the time or the staff to do actual news beat research). There are many resources in print besides the main paper. The neighborhood “shoppers” are a good source for your contributions. These papers are usually very happy to get a local expert’s contribution and these neighborhood papers are sometimes widely read. Also, remember all your print work can be re-purposed for other use – like your web site. Make sure to ask permission, as their may be copyright issues.
Having basic media understanding, a newsworthy story and being easy to work with are your keys!! Remember news is NOW – not yesterday. In both print and television, news is visual. News is full of information and it is entertaining as well. Keep the local spin on all your news. Even national stories – you are there to give your take on how a national story will affect your community (that’s localizing national news – a key ingredient in being successful in the news department).
The media’s definition of an expert, is not the veterinary medical definition. An expert is loosely used in media as anyone with some advanced training. You definitely quality. You are an expert. And the media LOVES an expert! So be confident. You have great information with superb visual and entertainment value. You should have all stories ready in the: Problem, Solution, Action Step format! Within your time frame (800 words, 30 minutes, 2 minutes or seconds) tell the audience the “problem”, solve it for them (that part can be the news), and then be sure to give the audience some action they can take. Many people forget this important step. Tell the audience what you want them to do. Most of the time for us this is “See Your Veterinarian”, but it may be to visit a particular web site, buy a book, call your congressman etc. It is important – where possible – to tie your story to news of the day. If there is a dog mauling in the news elsewhere in the country you can easily appear to discuss vicious dogs, socialization as prevention for aggression etc. If bird flu breaks in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you can tell your audience what to expect in your town. This is a crucial element of local news and one many contributors miss. Make it local – all news is local. Finally remember why you are taking your time to contribute to this news media. It is to gain something. Could be publicity, teaching, awareness, donations, product sales, positive action by viewers etc. But you always have a purpose. NEVER take your valuable time to do some sort of media contribution without a payoff. It may be as simple as giving out your web site address, or simply driving traffic in the face of a disease outbreak. Violation of this principle would mean you did an interview, answered all their questions, then went home. No! Make that valuable media pay off for your and your profession.
Learn how to be a great TV guest – and you will be asked back. Being asked to return is “golden” as it becomes free media exposure, you don’t have to work so hard for that first interview, and it means you have done a great job and they want you back on. BE upbeat, fun, entertaining, responsive and they will love you. Dull, “normal”, conversational, low energy, talkative etc. and they will not ask you back. Practice your interview so you will not ramble, “think out loud”, be off point, be easily distracted, and end the interview with little or no memorable points for the audience. Remember not to use medical terminology. It is a fine art to be able to explain complex medical issues in everyday language. Practice that skill. A thank you note does more than show your gratitude. It reminds them how good you were, and it is a chance for you to show them three other story ideas that they will find interesting. Don’t send gifts – it is over the top.
A radio interview is relatively easy to get. Radio has so much time to fill they will have you on if you are an expert, have a good story and still have a relatively warm body temperature. BUT being asked back is another thing. IF you are a great radio guest it is very likely you will be asked back – time and time again. Incorporate these nine things to give a radio show!! ENERGY – artificially boost your energy level – if you don’t you will sound dull, boring and out of touch. It is a must. Be ENTERTAINING – compelling is perhaps a better word. Keep the audience tuned into you because you are so interesting. CONTROVERSY is your friend! Without it there is really no need to have you on the radio. It is the energy in the tank for radio. If controversy scares you a little (especially being pitted up against another media savvy advocate) then simply prepare your side of the argument very well. Make your points and let the audience decide. It makes for excellent radio.
INFORMATION: Radio, especially Talk Radio, is the perfect format for delivering a great deal of information you simply can’t in a short TV show. In a sound bite world, it is often frustrating to experts and professionals that we can deliver SO little of what we know in a 2 minute TV news report. However, with radio you have lots of time. This is the media where you can really deliver more details and discussion – just make it compelling. CALL TO ACTION - As stated before, be sure you give your audience the call to action that is needed in any media. In other words, tell the audience what you want them to do. CLEAR SIGNAL - Most radio interviews today are done by phone. Therefore make sure you can deliver the best signal you can. Try not to do interviews over a cell phone or a cheap wireless at home. If you do regular radio interviews, buy a high quality wired phone. The producers will appreciate you giving them the best sound you can.
PRACTICE AND POLISH your speaking voice, your information and your energy level. Be aware of the two main types of phone interviews you will be doing. LIVE and TAPED. For taped news, the reporter is looking only for a useable sound bite they can edit into a story where you provide expertise. Therefore do not ramble. 7 seconds and stop. If the taping is a “segment” done “as live” or “Live to tape”, then you can act as though the interview is live. Do keep an eye on the total time (which you should know in advance) and begin to wrap up all your remarks when the end nears. This way you are not making a host abruptly or awkwardly cut you off. CREDENTIALS - IF this host does not give your credentials in the intro (most do) then feel free to tell the audience the things that make you worth listening to. THANK THEM…I recommend the same thank you letter and suggestion of other topics for future interviews.
Remember this about reporters and producers; they are neither out to deliver the truth for you, nor are they there to stand against you. News is in their blood and they are there to attempt to get both sides and report – hopefully letting the audience decide. True, advocacy journalism is at an all time high in this country. But we rarely work in the political arena or advocate for something controversial like abortion or gun rights. Therefore most of the reporters you work with will simply let the story be told. If you are going to run for office, then you will need to learn well the techniques of delivering message points, bridging and staying positive.
These are the simple characteristics of news people. Know them well. You will see these characteristics in the people you work with.
Consequently, you should do these things in order to “fit in” with the mind-set of news people. By understanding how they think, you will better communicate your points through them. Therefore remember, when pitching or presenting a story idea to a busy news producer, you should prepare your information so that it is first consumable by them – then later focus on general public. In other words, you have to get your story idea past the ‘gatekeepers’ before you’ll make it on the air or in print.
These are the things that will help make you successful in your interactions with news reporters and media producers.
Let’s learn some skills on approaching media, crafting a story that will gain their interest and score the interview or story.
Earned media is the new lingo for gaining some PR by supplying the media very useful information with “no strings attached”. The goal is that they will see the value in your story and ask you to help with the story. Successful PR using today’s media means being a good source and providing them a constant stream of NEWSWORTHY stories that THEY want to run. IF you gain some PR value from it – then great. If not, you are building your relationship with those media gatekeepers and you know that will pay off for you in the long run.
These are the key elements that make for a good news story. Notice there is no nail trimming in this list. It is either news, something unusual, something tied to human medicine, local take on national news, consumer interest, local events, controversy or regulatory issues that affect viewers. Outside of news, stories can be anything from serious to goofy. But remember, outside of news there is little audience.
Your three keys to promoting a story to local news.
Be sure you know the type of show you are approaching! This helps you know how to pitch and how to perform. Most producers are looking for something their viewers will see as helpful. They refer to this as “viewer service”. Most producers think they have seen it all, so if you can “wow” them a little – you have them. Every time I hear a producer say “really, I did not know that”, I have the segment!
For hard news you will need to be hard hitting in your approach (pitch and performance). However for the fun soft weekend shows you can be a little softer and easier in both pitch and performance.
You must CRAFT your story ideas and pitches for media. They simply don’t think creatively when you tell them about a new imaging device. Therefore YOU must be the one who creates the image of a good story in their head. Then you will have their attention. See these examples.
After you have them interested in your story, tell them what visuals you have, cases in your hospital, models or graphics. TV is a visual medium and you will need these visuals. The same way you plan a story (Problem, Solution, Action Step) is the same way you can pitch a story. Follow up with a phone call (not more than 1 or 2), email or a traditional fax sometimes works. Don’t over do it.
Here are just some examples of the kinds of story subjects that make it to the level of news.
This is journalism 101. Every reporter must ask….Who, What, When,
This is journalism 101. Every reporter must ask….Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Therefore keep these principles in mind.
RABIES SHOT KILLED MY POODLE
T. BOONE PICKENS WIFE WANTS OSU TO REDIRECT VET SCHOOL DONATION
DOGS’ EUTHANASIA “BARBARIC”
Graphics showing dogs waiting to be killed
Now Imagine, YOU are asked to do an interview with Fox 5 News in your office about this story this afternoon. What will you do?? What should you do? What impact will this story have on your, your practice, your association, your cause. Do you do it??
If you decide that the value of your opinion and the audience outweighs the risk, then do it. Where else are you going to have several hundred thousand people hearing your opinion? Also it is a chance to teach / educate and sway opinion. JUST Be Prepared! In order to do any interview you have two main goals. Meet the reporters needs and get your point across. The reporters needs vary but are something like this: I need the story quickly, I need visuals, I need a good sound bite, I need you in the studio, I need to shoot some good video at your office, I need some CDC references etc. So do your best to help them. What is your point? This is your message. The ‘take away’ point or points you want to leave with the audience. As you’ll learn, this comes directly from your message point page which you construct in preparation for any interview. Often times a key or essential message gets lost in the “chit-chat” of a segment. A professional makes SURE the main message is delivered no matter what distractions occur or time limit there is. What does NEWS YOU CAN USE mean? It means try to put all your information into a useable, practical, “real world” context when giving sound bites, live interviews or quotes. Think of how the audience will USE your information.
If you get a call from media to do an interview, you should not just simply say “Sure, Come on over”. Ask some questions. The answers to these questions will help you determine why this is a story, why they are interested in the story, in you etc. The answers to these questions will help you decide if you want to do this interview, simply say no or send it to the state VMA office etc.
These questions tell you what they want from you in the interview. Also how you should frame your answers and perhaps where they are going with the thrust of the story. You should identify the “objective” of any reporter in order to not only help with the story, but to deliver key messages and steer away from danger areas. Questions You Should Ask To Help You Identify The Objective of a Reporter:
REMEMBER: you are not obligated to do an interview. You can say no (I’m probably not the right one for you on this), but give them an alternative (say State VMA, PR committee etc.). You can also bargain a little on time and place if it is to your benefit. Reporters are a very special breed and you should have a little insight into their personality. They are driven by deadlines, in a hurry, not interested in too much detail, they are drawn to negative or sensational things, and they are skeptical and probing!
These are the steps in preparing for your interview. WRITE down the questions you think you will receive. Now write down your answers and be clever in your wording. This is “crafting” the answers. This means more than a simple answer. It means creating answers that are full of meaning, value words and depth, but in a short one or two sentence format so it is easily consumed by a reporter and delivered to an audience. After this you should have a page of about 10 Q & A’s. (this is your message point page!) Practice, Practice, Practice so the words are in your mouth. This page of points is the rock from which you proudly proclaim your position. Don’t stray from the message points. If questions begin to take you off course, you use a bridge technique to get you back to safe ground. Bridging will be discussed in detail later.
NOW what makes us nervous is being asked a question that scares us. A question we’re not prepared for. A question that cuts to the heart of the “tricky bit” and more than anything we want to stay away from that. THAT is called the “Hot Seat” question. So the way to handle this is to write down all the hot seat questions you can think of, write down all the answers, bridge back to positive points and stay on message. With practice you will find this works and works well and will keep you calm and on message.
Review the flow of preparation.
An example using the Pickens withdrawal of funding to the OSU vet school for alleged animal abuse. That’s how its done – over and over – subject after subject. Good communications is about delivering well crafted message points in light of whatever you are asked!!
An interviewee can answer a question directly – then get to the message (unless of course the question leads you to your message). OR one can answer indirectly then deflect a risky part of a question. “Its true that dogs are at risk, but I can’t speak to your statistics on fatalities…” This is an answer and deflect. It should always be followed by a bridge to a message point. One can also simply deflect; “We always make decisions based on good medicine… (then bridge)…the important point here is…(then deliver message point)… the animals in our care receive the best possible medicine.” Using this Answer or Deflect, Bridge To Message Point is the key in any difficult or probing interview.
This style of answering is professional, crafty, clever, and even necessary in cases of difficult communications like political issues etc. BUT be aware this does not happen naturally. We do not talk this way therefore this will feel very odd to you unless you practice this technique!! This is also why you Never, Never, Never – WING an interview!!
See how well it works??
What about a question for which you have not practiced? With good preparation you will find that your brain has enough Q’s and A’s that are well thought out, that you will be able to take bits and parts of your rehearsed answers and literally edit in your head and craft new good answers to questions that catch you by surprise. Don’t rely on this only, this is a point made for you to understand not to be afraid of questions you’re not prepared for. You will surprise yourself when you do it.
Here is an actual case example that happened to a colleague of ours in New York. A dog died in surgery and the owners went to the press. They found an aggressive reporter and they called to interview the doctor. Here is how we (as a workshop group) prepared this case. First we wrote down all the questions – including the really HOT ones.
Here now you see answers written to answer some of the questions in this case. Not all of those questions were answered here. You might want to practice a bit with these and construct some more.
If in the middle of an interview you need to stop, you can say something like this and leave the interview.
Let’s look at effective interview skills.
It is story telling, just in many different time frames, environments and distractions.
Depending on the type of interview you are doing, you will adjust your preparation and your performance. It is important to know the show on which you are about to appear so you can match the dress, style, energy level and time length and knowing these things in advance let’s you relax and focus on message delivery. Live TV studio 2 minutes is entirely different than a long in-depth print interview. Talk radio hour is very different than standing at the scene of an accident talking to a reporter and a cameraman.
Most hosts will have a higher energy level than you. You will most likely need to artificially increase your energy to appear even with the pros. This is especially true on radio. Plan on taking it up a notch or two!
You should know several things about the media where you will appear. Watch the show and learn their style, energy, dress, tenor and tone etc. If you just show up and be your normal self, it may not fit into the style of the show and you can appear disconnected.
Different types of reporters and hosts are looking for different things from a guest or interview. Knowing this will help you deliver what the type of media wants/needs.
Professional people know too much to deliver good media messages in today’s sound bite world. So in order to communicate you must learn to take what you know and squeeze it into consumable bits for the type of media you are doing. That is why you construct media message points and practice them – then stop talking! When you are being taped, it is best to repeat the essence of the question in your answer. Taping means editing and in order not to be edited out of context you should signify to the audience what question you are answering. Wrong way: Q = Is pet insurance driving up the cost of veterinary care? A: No it isn’t. Right Way: Q = Is pet insurance driving up the cost of veterinary care? A = Pet Insurance helps pet owners pay for good veterinary care.
Here is another good example.
With this answer, the listener will really have no idea what you are talking about unless they heard the question. In taped (edited) stories the audience many times does not hear the question – hence “it” has no meaning.
Here, the essence of the question, pet insurance, is repeated in the answers. Note also the answers are short, come in threes. People think in threes, learn in threes and listen in threes. Good to remember that.
We ramble when we talk. We deliver message points when we do interviews! That takes practice.
A message point is the foundational block for your prep and your performance. A sound bite is your media bullet point!
These points describe key point about sound bites.
Whether you are doing radio, TV or even print, always use a visual or prop. It helps guide your interview, focus the message and often will decrease nervousness. Many TV producers will simply ask you in advance, what are your visuals? That’s how important it is to tell any story with a prop. EVEN in radio, props are important. Remember our example: Bringing a visual like a heart full of heartworms (or a product sample or even a pet) into a radio interview allows the host to help you develop “word pictures” and describe the issue using words. This helps the audience better understand the key points – when they “SEE” it on radio!
This is a good example of a set of message points.
See how they build, they are well crafted and use value words and have a great deal of “punch” for a small amount of words. That is what you will strive for when crafting message points.
HOW do I get to my message points when they ask silly or off point questions – or questions that I really did not practice for?? That is the art of bridging.
Bridging is the art of using cleverly worded sentences to get you away from a leading or negative question TO your key message points. You never want to get into a Q & A game. Neither do you simply answer questions and stop. You should almost always “bridge” to a message point – otherwise how do you ever get to your message points?? This is especially true when an interview turns negative or leading.
The top is a good and simple example of this technique in its purest form. A negative and leading question that is answered directly (which takes the power out of a leading question) and then the interviewee bridges with a classic bridge (but the good news is….. Because so many leading questions from reporters are negative or “bad” news) then hits a message point. Another perfect example of this technique.
These next examples become a bit more complex but still demonstrate the same Answer or Deflect / Bridge / Message Point technique.
Here the question is a bit tricky in that the reporter asks you about “recent reports”. WHAT recent reports? This is the classic case of a reporter asking you to speculate on something you do not know about. (nor frankly do you want to know about) Just answer with a classic “dodge” of speculation. “I don’t know about that __________, BUT WHAT I DO KNOW IS… message point”.
The following are five Q & A examples using breed bans as the subject.
Note, Denver does not talk…. So that calls for speculation. You therefore answer by using a statement that avoids speculation. Also note in the second example the answerer repeats the essence of the question in the answer to be extraordinarily clear.
Another example. Note that “An important point to remember” really is not a bridge, but it is a highlighting statement to prepare the listener for something very important.
Look now at some Q & A surrounding the pet food recall of 2007.
In a bad economy MONEY will be a hot topic and a huge category of stories, some of which will be negative and difficult.
Based on a real case in Los Angeles a year or so ago, these points were principles learned from that experience. A TV investigation of over charging pitted one veterinarian against others attempting to get one doctor to criticize another on camera.
This is an example of ignoring the negative aspect of the question and taking the high road proudly – answering with your head held high.
Avoid speculation and get to what you DO know immediately. One of the best techniques for avoiding speculation is: I'm not familiar with that, but what I can tell you is… and this leads you into your known message points.
Agreeing with one aspect of a negative question takes much of the energy out of their question, but it should be immediately followed by a bridge to something positive!!
This could be what you hear on the phone and you are happy to help the reporter.
Then they arrive, cameras rolling and ask this question.
Read the four examples that follow and see the techniques you’ve learned.
Other questions that may be asked. Try to construct answers to these based on what you now know.
These Q & A’s were constructed by a PR ‘pro’. There are some real problems in these answers. See if you can identify the mistakes made here and practice how you would answer these in a much better way.
Examples of questions that could be asked on the subject of Allied Professional Care in Veterinary Medicine. Florida has a problem with many types of allied therapists practicing their craft on animals. This set of messaging was done in a workshop with that group. Good examples of how proper message development works to your advantage.
See the basic principles in all these answers.
Potential reporter questions surrounding the outbreak of dog flu. This is how you would prepare – by writing down all the questions you can think of.
Then write down the answers. These include bridges to positive message points. I will break out the bridges and the positive points in a later slide. But you must take control of the story in how you answer! That is the art of professional communications.
I’ve highlighted all the bridging statements here for you to see.
And here are the positive points made within the answers. A typical Q and A broken down so you can see the construction of good preparation.
The pros know many people today are media trained and know these techniques. BUT they actually appreciate it because a media trained person makes for a better interview. But be prepared.
When you are the Secretary of Defense you can get away with this. But as a expert you will be expected to answer the questions . Just do it with the right and professional technique always delivering your message points.
THIS IS THE TECHNIQUE. ALWAYS CARRY THIS WITH YOU.
Some basic examples of positive statements (within the answer or deflect), classic bridges and then you head to the message point page.
A complex but perfect example of using these techniques with a hot seat question.
Some other tips for you.
AVOID these “fillers” at all cost. A well rehearsed set of message points should correct your uttering these meaningless words and phrases.
Being relaxed is extremely important. These tips will help.
What should you wear for television?? Look at these considerations when deciding what to wear on television.
The Social Media Networking “Evolution” is happening as we speak. This is dramatically changing the way traditional media works, thinks and does its craft. In an instant you can be a columnist/blogger, citizen journalist, influencer, educator etc. etc. using social media. Some social media sites will connect you with friends. Some will place you in the middle of a vast group of executives that can bring you business. Other sites are tremendous research and connection platforms that have amazing ability unheard of just 3 years ago. This short section is a very simple introduction to this world. We encourage you to explore and learn so much more. By being a member of the Veterinary News Network (www.MyVNN.com) you will be consistently trained and encouraged to use social media for marketing and practice growth. But social media can open doors for your journalism skills and has the potential to connect you to national and even international media.
It is amazing how traditional media has lost its edge. Less than 40% of people now trust media. Just over 10 years ago that number was above 60%. Part of this trend has occurred because of bias in media. But much of it has to do with the explosion of “power to the people” journalism. In the history of journalism there has never been a more dramatic change in the way subjects are communicated.
Traditional Media Is Failing. That is the headline you won’t see in the local paper. But it is true. Only the Wall Street Journal, out of the top 25 papers in the US, is not experiencing record declines. The new generation of consumers and the new media is driving this (in addition to traditional media’s lack of understanding and embracing new media strategies). In 2010 Gen Y is surpassing Baby Boomers in population. This group is generally more tech savvy and driving the media change. 96% of them have a social media profile. 71% have two or more. The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born during World War II to 1960. Generation X is the generation generally defined as those born after the baby boom ended, with earliest birth dates seen used by researchers ranging from 1961 to the latest 1981. They were the first generation with widespread access to television during their formative years. Other names used interchangeably with Generation X are 13th Generation and Baby Busters . Generation Y is also known as Generation Next or the Millennials . Some sources have Generation Y spanning from the earliest, possibly late 1970s, to the early 1990s. Generation Z or iGen, the internet generation and various other names, was born between the mid-1990s and end of the 2000s. Characteristics these “New Generations” are interesting but are a result of “high tech” and “not so much touch”. The News Generations are somewhat more introverted, uncomfortable with face to face communications, need instant gratification, search for news and information – rather than wait for it. Important to know when diving into social networking. But what is even more interesting is that while technology is promoting asocial skills, BY ITS VERY DEFINITION social networking and marketing requires Social Skills! There in lies the opportunity for you. You have social skills AND can communicate using social media with people who consume social media! A perfect combination.
78% Trust Peer Recommendations …this is part of why social media is so powerful.
New media is…The use of digital and internet technologies to communicate, connect, inform, research, obtain information, promote, publicize on any topic in the world. Currently we are seeing non-journalists, “citizens”, become media influencers, writers, broadcasters and the like. New media is sort of the new FORTH arm of media – Radio, Television, Print and NEW. The other three will either join in or move over. But it is a way for every day people to be heard! A way to write a column without going through the “gatekeepers” at the news paper. Veterinarians will use new media for teaching, information delivery, communications and marketing / promotions.
Email is still the number one method of content delivery, but Facebook is not far behind! Popular and growing new media sites are also used for networking, connecting, and media delivery. As you know, media delivery also contains your marketing message – albeit subtle – and hence you can and should use new media for both media information delivery and marketing and promoting your veterinary services.
New media information helps everyone, it is versatile and low cost, it is usually very focused in your areas of interest, you can do it easily and you do not need to spend money on an agency. It can also happen instantly and that is very valuable in crisis media management.
96% of all your clients have a social media profile. 71% of those have 2 or more.
An example of the Linkedin page for Dr. Jim Humphries. Take a minute now and sign up at www.LinkedIn.com and set up an initial profile. ASVJ has a group there and all of you will need to be members. But you must first have a profile. It only takes minutes and don’t worry about having all the details in place. Just get on. Then, over time, you can very easily go back and dress up your profile, make connections and learn the deep functionality in this site. Now as an exercise, send Dr. Humphries an invitation to connect. Just look at the upper right hand side of your profile page and look for the button “Add Dr. Humphries to your network”. When asked “How do you know Jim?, simply use the button “Colleague” and in the pull down menu select American Society of Veterinary Journalists. Or VNN reporters may select Veterinary News Network. I will then receive the invitation to connect, I will accept, and we are beginning our network. Over time this network can become huge and of powerful benefit to you – both in the profession and with clients.
This is Dr. Humphries’ Face Book page. You can search for him by using Jim Humphries. After finding his page, click the Add As Friend button at the top of the page. Then type in a greeting or message in the box at the top and that is writing “wall to wall”. You are then connected on Facebook. You can connect with many friends, and even the VNN or ASVJ Facebook pages! We would recommend you connect with ASVJ’s FB page.
This is the twitter page for PetDocsOnCall. It is very easy. Twitter has some good instructions, but VNN also has a nice PowerPoint training presentation for VNN members. Search for PetDocsOnCall and PetDocsOnCall09 and “Follow” them. Then do some key word searches using the “Find People” function to follow people interesting to you. You can also see the types of people other ones follow by clicking on their “following” link at the top right of the page. Twitter is easy and fun and it takes some time to learn how, when and what to tweet, and how to find information in this vast site.
MedHelp.org is the oldest and largest human medical advice forum on the Internet. They have been around since 1994. VNN reporters who also participate in our forum PetDocsOnCall may apply to give advice at MedHelp. This is important as MedHelp has 8.5 MILLIION unique visitors a month. That is a huge pipeline for doctors to tap for blogs, hospital publicity, and a great entry into the bigger world of large online media. This is Dr. Humphries’ MedHelp blog page.
MedHelp. This is what one of the online forum Q&A pages look like. There are forums in many different sub categories. If you would like to be involved in forum sites you may do so via VNN.
As another example of forums, VNN has produced www.PetDocsOnCall.com. This is a Pet Health Question and Answer Forum where anyone can participate in the open forums, but only VNN members may answer questions from pet owners. It is a highly ethical and professional forum. Not all forums on the net are trustworthy. This was begun to help veterinarians enter the arena of forums in a safe and ethical site.
There is so much more to the Online Publishing and Social Media world. It is changing almost daily. We encourage you to learn this evolving method of media communications via any trustworthy source and get involved immediately. A key in becoming involved in social media sites is to not worry too much about all the details in the beginning. The ROI or “risk of inactivity” can be very costly to your media presence. Follow the WTFL strategy; your Website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn sites. Get a presence in all these categories, and then tweek, improve, add details as time progresses. If you do this you will be ahead of 90% of Internet users, and a leader in veterinary journalism.
Let’s look at the most difficult type of media communications – handling a crisis.
Three principles; tell it all, tell the truth and tell it fast. Can you think of several recent media crisis examples that would have been helped by these three simple principles? Your responsibilities in any crisis communications is to Calm the Public, BE the voice of reason, and give the audience a positive action step they can take. This gives the audience some hope and something to do.
The following three pages are real crisis scenarios I’ve come across in the last few years. Some of these can be embarrassing, some of these can lead to an even greater communications or image crisis, and some can even be career ending.
Stop the crisis – this is the first thing you do before worry about any communications. Protect people, pets and property. Put a stop to the problem that created the crisis.
Sometimes in a media crisis it is best to lay low and watch the story. MOST go away in this very busy media world. While some are going to need your attention, don’t make the mistake of giving new life to a story that will die out.
If the issue is a small flash in the pan, it’s best not to make a statement for 24-48 hours and see how quickly it goes away. May dramatically decrease your response and need for damage control.
Before saying anything gather the facts. A crisis is the worst place for speculation. Assuming or speculating opens up too many “dark alleys” for the media. Stick with the facts.
So many companies and individuals have forgotten this. In a crisis do the right thing. The public is very very forgiving. But not if you lie, cover up or profit from a disaster. Do the right thing and tell the truth and over time you will gain the public’s respect and their trust again.
You should never deliver any type of communications without a message point list. In a crisis it is even more important. Never get off the message point page!
Make sure you know who is speaking and that they have gone through all the message point development and practice.
Make sure the front office knows what to say.
Many times the first (and sometimes the only) communication is a well written press release. This assures only what is approved is what is “said”.
While you do want to share the situation, be careful what you tell employees. Make them feel a part of the team in solving the problem and not like they are outsiders.
Rehearse and rehearse some more.
Control of the information is really the key element in crisis management. By being prepared there is nothing to be afraid of here. But if you do not control the flow of information, good reporters will go find it elsewhere and that may not be a good thing.
Honesty comes through and your preparation and doing the right thing will stay with you or your company. Stay on message and don’t volunteer anything, bridge away from speculation.
Hot seat questions are hard enough, but when you are prepared they are not as destructive. Try not to simply answer, but answer and bridge to something positive.
This is so extremely important in any type of media. The image and impression the audience is left with is your message.
Be careful with this as it can look contrived, but may work well at some point down the road.
If you promise to give the media something, be sure you do. You don’t want them looking for information on their own – this is part of controlling the flow of information.
CHANGE if something you have done has caused the crisis. And make the change so it doesn’t happen again.
You NEVER wing any interview, and in a crisis, while it may be rushed and urgent, you still take the time to develop message points and rehearse them. If not you can make a crisis even more severe.
This can happen, especially in today’s world of increasingly aggressive reporters. If you feel yourself getting mad, don’t. Force yourself to calm down and go into message point robot mode. Your job is to deliver pre-arranged positions and show compassion, humility and honesty.
In a crisis never stray off message. If the crisis is personal it is easy to stray because you feel you must “explain” or “defend your honor”. However, the rule is stay with the issue at hand and when you are finished delivering message points, end the interview or press conference.
IF you are caught by surprise by a question, you should never look that way. With good preparation you’ve heard most of the questions and this will allow you to remain professional and cool.
NEVER speculate. When you speculate you “ponder about what COULD happen if…” This is dangerous primarily because it may cause you to say something that is off message and take the interview into a direction that is full of damaging facts or unrelated to your story or message.
Bridging is your safety technique for getting from where you do not want to be, to where you DO want to be – and that is on message. This is a learned/practiced skill but will save you time and time again.
Did you know that much more than half of your message and audience impression is how you look? It is more than half and some say up to 80% of a message delivered is non-verbal. More image and impression than fact is delivered in the media. Consequently IMAGE IS IMPORTANT.
NOTE: This is not an official part of the exam. This is simply a guide used in the VNN workshop sessions for rehearsing the preparation process. Print out this page and practice media preparation with a subject that is currently in the news. Here are some examples: Cost of Veterinary Care Prescription Mark Up Regulations on Factory Farming Allied Veterinary Care Dangerous Dog Breed Ban People abandoning pets during hard times Horse Slaughter Canine Influenza H1N1 in domestic pets
These are the steps. Good idea to practice these steps using a likely scenario that may affect your practice or your association.
Congratulations. This study guide will be expanded and grow as ASVJ grows. Should you have anything to add, please email me directly.
Asvj Study Guide Final V.1
American Society of Veterinary Journalists Basic Study Guide For ASVJ Certification Exam Dr. Jim Humphries Executive Director [email_address]
In Learning Media Interactions, One Must Learn How To Be: <ul><li>PROACTIVE - “Sell” Them On Your Story Idea </li></ul><ul><li>REACTIVE – How To React When The Media Calls </li></ul><ul><li>EFFECTIVE – Learning and fully understanding the basic skills of a one on one interview </li></ul><ul><li>PREPARED – This is done by practicing the skills </li></ul>
<ul><li>Media Interview skills are THE SAME SKILLS you use in Client Communications! </li></ul><ul><li>In a poll of 100 veterinarians who took at least one day of media training, this is what they said about how it will help them outside of the interview setting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Helps me not repeat negatives” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Helps me bridge to my points and my directions” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I’m more efficient with my time because I control the conversation” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I now use more visuals” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ My clients are less confused because I’m more clear” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Informed clients have more work done” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I now exercise more control over what’s said in the exam room” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I now have message points for our practice” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I’m more compassionate in my communications” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I offer fewer choices and my clients are happier” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We all have paid more attention to our professional appearance” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We seem to listen and empathize more now” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We have less confused clients!” </li></ul></ul>
Media Interview skills are THE SAME SKILLS you use as an expert witness! Medical / Legal Communications: Media Interview skills are THE SAME SKILLS you use as a good spouse / business partner / teacher / dean / leader / CEO etc… ! General Communications: Media Skills are helpful in ALL types of communications:
Let’s Begin With A General Look At Today’s Media Journalism
Local News! “ Local television news and daily newspapers remain Americans’ favorite news sources” The Pew Council on Civic Journalism <ul><li>Why is this true? </li></ul><ul><li>There is a distance and a distrust with national news. And because busy Americans can get news, sports, weather and local events in 30 minutes on their local news. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the biggest money generating show on any local station? </li></ul><ul><li>The news! </li></ul><ul><li>Because it has the highest ratings. </li></ul>“ Local television continues to be far and away American’s primary and most credible source for news and information.” Roper Organization
Daily Information Sources Percentages of Americans who say they consult the following information sources at least once a day. 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Local TV News-84% Flat little growth Radio-70% National TV News-68% - Katie Couric dead last (MSNBC Last) Newspapers-60% Internet-35% Magazines-8% Phone Help Lines-4% *Neilsen 80%
Categories of Television News Interest and the percentage of audience interest: <ul><li>O’Dwyer’s </li></ul>16% Fashion ** Where veterinary stories may apply 25% Travel 35% Entertainment 39% Environment 48% ** Offbeat/Kicker Stories 53% Business 63% ** General Medical News 76% ** Consumer 81% Computers & High Tech 89% ** Personal Health
Good News About Television <ul><li>Up to the minute “moving pictures” will always work! Content Is King! Internet gives video new future. </li></ul><ul><li>If you come in with a story ready, you relieve the staffing burdens of the News Director </li></ul><ul><li>Animal stories can fall into many high scoring TV News categories </li></ul><ul><li>Animals are VERY visual and BOTH newsworthy and entertaining. </li></ul>
Good News About Radio <ul><li>Reaches 75% of 12+ audience each day. </li></ul><ul><li>AND 95% of 12+ audience each week </li></ul><ul><li>Satellite Radio giving radio new Life! </li></ul><ul><li>The average person spends 21 hours, 30 minutes listening to radio each week. </li></ul><ul><li>81% of all Adults listen to radio in the car each week </li></ul><ul><li>Talk Radio has LOTS of time to fill!! </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to do! </li></ul>
There is SOME Good News About Print Media <ul><li>Much electronic media comes from print (lazy) </li></ul><ul><li>Still half of Americans read print news daily </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to achieve – they need the help </li></ul><ul><li>Offers instant credibility/celebrity </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t have to have a “personality” to do print </li></ul><ul><li>LOTS of resources </li></ul><ul><li>Staff can get involved </li></ul><ul><li>Can do in “spare” time </li></ul><ul><li>Can be re-purposed for your clients/web site/ newsletter/fact sheets/how to articles etc. </li></ul>
<ul><li>We have to be a little media savvy </li></ul><ul><li>We have to have a good story </li></ul><ul><li>We have to be “easy to produce” </li></ul><ul><li>Remember news is happening NOW </li></ul><ul><li>News is VISUAL </li></ul><ul><li>News is information and… </li></ul><ul><li>News can be entertaining as well </li></ul><ul><li>Local news is LOCAL </li></ul><ul><li>News Producers are very pressed for time </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore you have to pitch properly and quickly </li></ul>How Can We Be Successful In Today’s Media?
<ul><li>You have great information, with excellent visual and entertainment value. </li></ul><ul><li>Have the story ready in this format: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Problem, Solution, Action Step. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Tie your story to news of the day and make it local . </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the purpose is to inform and promote veterinary medicine. </li></ul><ul><li>Be confident because you are an expert and the media loves an expert. </li></ul>
Be A Good TV Guest! <ul><li>Deliver information with attention to being up-beat, fun and entertaining and they will love you. </li></ul><ul><li>Practice your performance in advance so you don’t ramble and avoid medical jargon. </li></ul><ul><li>Make your points then let the anchor or host have it back. </li></ul><ul><li>Be ready to answer “off point” questions, then “bridge” back to your main message. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t hang around the station. Get yourself, guests and props out politely and quickly. </li></ul><ul><li>Send a thank you note and an idea for your next story. </li></ul>
Now Be A Good RADIO Guest! <ul><li>ENERGY! Producers hate dull, boring guests. Artificially boost your energy and keep it fun. </li></ul>2. ENTERTAINMENT . Be compelling. The audience is constantly switching channels so you must help the radio host keep the audience listening. This also means speaking in everyday language. 3. CONTROVERSY. Controversy is good. Controversy is your friend. Controversy is why you are even on the radio. This gets the phones ringing and makes you a good guest. Simply be prepared to stand confidently in your positions.
Be A Good RADIO Guest! 4. INFORMATION! In a sound bite world, radio let’s you deliver more information. 5. A CALL TO ACTION. Your time is wasted if you don’t tell the listeners what to do, where to go and who you are!! 6. A CLEAR SIGNAL . A wired high quality phone line makes a difference is how you sound for phone interviews. No cordless, no cheap, no speaker phones.
Be A Good RADIO Guest! 7. POLISHED PRACTICED INTERVIEW.. Two Types: Live and Taped 8. CREDENTIALS. You are an expert and if the host doesn’t set you up with your credentials, you should be proactive in doing so. This establishes you as someone the listener should pay attention to. 9. A THANK YOU LETTER. Thank the host and or producer. Send your card and some ideas for follow-up interviews. You can use email
Who Are These Media People? Adversaries or Truth Seekers? Neither! They are NEWS People Therefore you have to understand how News People think
<ul><li>Some Characteristics of the Mind of a News Professional: </li></ul><ul><li>Ignorant of your issues </li></ul><ul><li>In a huge hurry – driven by deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Working in a station that has had staff cut </li></ul><ul><li>backs and have to produce more news programs </li></ul><ul><li>Just doing a job – rarely have underlying agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Not interested in too much detail </li></ul><ul><li>Motivated by the negative or sensational </li></ul><ul><li>Skeptical and probing </li></ul><ul><li>Really just concerned with “getting the story” and moving on </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking in sound bites or headlines </li></ul><ul><li>Not your friends </li></ul><ul><li>Not your enemies </li></ul><ul><li>People who carry your properly delivered message </li></ul>
<ul><li>Therefore to be effective we should: </li></ul><ul><li>Think in sound bites and headlines </li></ul><ul><li>Respect their time </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare your information so that it is “consumable” </li></ul><ul><li>by them first, THEN their audience </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t try to become their friend </li></ul><ul><li>Be professional and be prepared </li></ul><ul><li>Offer lots of resources </li></ul><ul><li>Make your schedule flex to theirs </li></ul><ul><li>Give them an up-beat well rehearsed interview or press conference </li></ul><ul><li>Help them do their job – become their assistant </li></ul><ul><li>------------------------------------------------------- </li></ul>
<ul><li>How Can We Be Successful? </li></ul><ul><li>Understand them </li></ul><ul><li>Learn the skills </li></ul><ul><li>Practice the skills </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be shy about calling them </li></ul><ul><li>Become a valuable “source” </li></ul><ul><li>Make and keep up to date your media contacts </li></ul><ul><li>Help them with stories unrelated to your work </li></ul><ul><li>Thank them </li></ul><ul><li>Send them story ideas </li></ul><ul><li>--------------------------------------------------- </li></ul>
PR is the process of supplying information to the media that you don’t control, in hopes that they will run your story for their audiences. Some call it “earned media”. Using the media for publicity means providing them a steady stream of interesting, newsworthy stories that reporters and editors want to run – with few adjustments.
What Makes A Good Story : <ul><li>Something that is happening NOW </li></ul><ul><li>A seasonal event </li></ul><ul><li>An unusual case </li></ul><ul><li>The results of a new survey </li></ul><ul><li>The local angle on national news </li></ul><ul><li>A new product or service that will benefit people </li></ul><ul><li>“ How to” stories that help people accomplish </li></ul><ul><li>something </li></ul><ul><li>Things that make people’s lives easier </li></ul><ul><li>Local happenings </li></ul><ul><li>Good causes </li></ul><ul><li>Controversial issues </li></ul><ul><li>Government approval of something new </li></ul>
Promoting That First Story: 1. LOCALIZE LOCALIZE LOCALIZE - Keep an eye on NEW veterinary trends, research or activities that will or are currently affecting your community. Local Radio, Television and Newspapers are only interested in stories that affect their own listeners, viewers and readers. Localize national news! 3. PITCH PROPERLY - Write down a short idea chart for a telephone call to your newfound contact at the newsroom. Always write and think in the present tense. 2. WHAT CAN YOU OFFER? - Do you have a case example for the story? Would the pet owner help with a story? Can the video crew or photographer show the owner at home with their pet? Can you schedule a surgery or treatment at a time convenient to the newsroom? Be EASY to produce. Be available on short notice.
<ul><li>You must first ask yourself what type of show is this ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Morning drive radio, noon news, evening news, public service, general interest, specialty… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Determine stories that will work (news, softer, visual, serious) </li></ul><ul><li>Medical is HOT, veterinary medical is NOT unless you make it so. </li></ul>Selling Your Story: <ul><li>Story done as consumer service is good. </li></ul><ul><li>Story tied to human medical is Great. </li></ul><ul><li>Story tied to news of the day is BEST! </li></ul><ul><li>Pitch quickly, remembering viewer service! </li></ul><ul><li>“ Get the producer to say “Really, I didn’t know that!” </li></ul>
Know The Media You Are Pitching! Spring time brings pesky pests. Now, simple treatments can prevent most problems. Fleas and Ticks can transmit deadly disease to people and pets Store bought or home made pet foods – an expert tells us which is best Good nutrition prevents deadly disease in pets Heartworm Disease is just one of the problems we can prevent with regular visits to the veterinarian. Heartworm Disease is spreading throughout the country at an alarming rate. General Interest Show Martha Stewart News “ Hard News”
CRAFT your story for media interest!!! Health Insurance Nightmares and The Ways To Avoid Them Health Insurance The Top Ten Strangest X-rays New X-ray Machine Refinancing is NOT for everyone – Learn The Inside Facts Home Mortgage Refinancing The Best Way To Avoid Costly Auto Repairs Regular Auto Maintenance The 6 Point Couch Potato Check Up High Blood Pressure Ways To Stay Out Of The Dental Chair Proper Flossing The 5 Best Ways To Save Money On Your Vet Bills Good Pet Care Crafted for Media Story idea
<ul><li>Mention any visuals you have. Cases, your hospital, models, etc. </li></ul>When You Talk To Producers… <ul><li>Do a good job of pitching, and give an energetic and informative interview and you will be asked back. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up with a phone call, email or fax. Fine art of how much is too much. </li></ul><ul><li>Flow of a story should be: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solve the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where to go for more information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That’s also how you pitch it ! </li></ul></ul>
Selling Your Story: Examples For News : (Controversy is GOOD!) Heartworm? Should Pit Bulls Be Banned? Mad Cow Disease? Guardianship? Fleas and Ticks? West Nile Virus? Over-Vaccination Issue? Anthrax? Frostbite? FIV Vaccine? Weird Case? Geriatrics? Alternative Medicines? Heart Disease? Deadly Bugs? Book? Local Event? Survey or Poll of Clients? Outbreak?
THE NEWS STORY CHECKLIST These may be unsaid, but they are in the reporter’s mind. 1. Who Who would be affected by this story? Hopefully a substantial population in your community would be interested - even if not directly affected. 2. What What is the story about? Is it a new cure? A new disease? A new technology? A new trend? What makes the story VISUAL ? What visuals are available? Think of how you would use a visual in a radio setting to help draw word pictures! 3. When When is the event/study/trend coming to town? When are you available for the story? When can you have both patient and owner available for footage and interviews?
4. Where Where could this story happen? (Your clinic, your hospital, the home of your client) 5. Why Why is this happening? Why is this important? Why does this information make a good story? 6. How How is this story coming to be? How can this story affect my readership, listenership or viewership?
Being Reactive Just Look At The Following Headline Examples!
<ul><li>What do you do? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you prepare? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you say? Your position? </li></ul><ul><li>What impact will this have? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you do the interview? </li></ul>
The Two Main Goals When Doing Any Interview: 1) Meet The Reporters Needs 2) Get Your Point Across What is Your Point ? Your reason for being there. Your PR goal. News You Can Use!!
<ul><li>Why have they called you? </li></ul><ul><li>How did this story come to their attention? </li></ul><ul><li>Who else are they interviewing? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the news of the day? </li></ul><ul><li>What type of show is this? </li></ul><ul><li>What impact will this have on your practice, the association or the profession? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you have some time to prepare? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you know the reporter from their work on the air? </li></ul><ul><li>Will they come to you or do they need you in-studio? </li></ul><ul><li>What is their contact information? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this one story or a part of a series of reports? </li></ul>Before Granting An Interview Ask These Questions:
<ul><li>Is this interview a soft program or hard news? </li></ul><ul><li>Will this interview be controversial or general care? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they want short answers or extensive answers? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this print or electronic media? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have to do this immediately, or do I have some notice? </li></ul><ul><li>The angle or their “take” on the story </li></ul><ul><li>What are their needs – then try to meet them </li></ul>Questions You Should Ask To Help You Identify The Objective of a Reporter:
<ul><li>You do NOT have to agree to an interview </li></ul><ul><li>You do not have to agree to their terms </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters are neither your enemy nor your friend </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters are driven by deadlines, in a hurry, not interested in too much detail, they are drawn to negative or sensational things, and they are skeptical and probing! </li></ul><ul><li>Stay with the subject at hand </li></ul><ul><li>The call might be a “pre-interview”. Your goal here is to “sell the story” a little, and prove you are a good interview. </li></ul>Things To Remember!
<ul><li>Anticipate the questions you will receive </li></ul><ul><li>Write 7-15 second answers. Craft them! </li></ul><ul><li>Practice about 10 points knowing you will get in about 4-5. </li></ul><ul><li>Begin to practice. (Mirror, Spouse, Technician) </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure to practice your answers “out of order” </li></ul><ul><li>Practice getting your points in early! </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to support what you say (examples, case studies, CDC, State Veterinarian) </li></ul>Now take some time to prepare!!
NOW, write all the “Hot Seat” questions – then practice them. <ul><li>When did you stop beating your wife? </li></ul><ul><li>How much money do you make? </li></ul><ul><li>How could your agency let this happen? </li></ul><ul><li>It appears there was severe negligence here! </li></ul><ul><li>This failure has put many animals in danger! </li></ul><ul><li>It seems this is a very scary disease… </li></ul><ul><li>Would boarding at a vets office be risky? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we stop eating chicken (beef) now? </li></ul><ul><li>Should this family be awarded money for pain </li></ul><ul><li>and suffering? </li></ul>
Here is how you do that: <ul><li>Write down all questions you can think of </li></ul><ul><li>Write down all the answers </li></ul><ul><li>Craft Your Message Points from these answers </li></ul><ul><li>Identify Some Good Bridging Statements </li></ul><ul><li>List Some Positive Points You’d Like To Bridge To </li></ul>
Here’s what that looks like: Q: Was Mrs. Pickens right to withdraw her donation to the OSU Vet School? A: Mrs. Pickens can certainly do what she wants with her money. Perhaps she does not know all the facts and made a hasty and emotional decision. I do know veterinary schools in the US are governed by strict animal care protocols for humane treatment. MP: It’s possible this was an emotional decision and not based on the strict humane standards veterinary schools must use. Bridge: The good news in this issue is… Positive: our veterinary students get a great education and also learn compassion, dignity and medical ethics.
The Perfect Answer: Q: _______________?? A: Answer / Deflect… Perhaps a Positive Statement Bridge Message Point
This technique takes practice It does not come naturally! Because we do not normally talk this way…. NEVER “WING” AN INTERVIEW!
Q: Honey did you take the trash out? A: I have the trash ready, but the good news is this recycling is saving our city millions and protecting our fragile environment!
The Perfect Answer: Interview is going nicely… Q; Crafted answer Q; Crafted answer Q; Crafted answer Q; Crafted answer Q you haven’t practiced for….. ???? ANSWER: Take bits and parts of your crafted answers – EDIT IN YOUR HEAD - and craft a new one thinking on your feet.
Dog Dies In Surgery: Dog died during surgery. Client went to the media. Bulldog reporter wants the story to get a promotion. <ul><li>Questions: </li></ul><ul><li>Why did it die? </li></ul><ul><li>What anesthetic was used? </li></ul><ul><li>Who monitored the anesthetic? How monitored? </li></ul><ul><li>How much was given? </li></ul><ul><li>How often does this happen? </li></ul><ul><li>What tests did you run? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does your hospital want to be paid? </li></ul><ul><li>Should you refund their money? </li></ul><ul><li>Should they be rewarded for pain and suffering? </li></ul><ul><li>Aren’t all animals like members of the family? </li></ul><ul><li>Wouldn’t you expect such action if you lost a son or daughter? </li></ul><ul><li>Who monitors the hospital and sets professional standards? </li></ul><ul><li>Were those standards followed here? </li></ul><ul><li>How much money does the doctor make on these procedures? </li></ul><ul><li>How much money do veterinarians make in general? </li></ul><ul><li>Did your staff do everything possible to prevent this from happening? </li></ul><ul><li>What changes will be made to prevent this from happening again? </li></ul>
Answers: This is very rare and sometimes unavoidable. We did everything possible to prevent this from happening. The client made the decision not to do the pre-anesthetic blood work. We believe that is an important step. The dog had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic medications. This occurs in only one in 10,000 cases, but for us that’s one too many. This case was monitored with our ECG, respiratory rate and temperature monitors. That is a very high standard of care. We recognized the reaction very quickly and began all necessary emergency procedures. The good news is that this is a very rare…. I don’t know about that, what I do know is that this is very rare and sometimes unavoidable. We are all pet owners and we can completely empathize with the family.
If you wish to end the interview! Say something like this… “ Due to the request of the AVMA Professional Liability Trust, I am not able to comment on this case. However, I can tell you that our hearts go out to the dog owner’s family. This is a very rare and unfortunate occurrence and we did everything we could to prevent this from happening. That is all I can say at this time.”
Interview Skills It’s All In The Telling It’s just like story telling, but you have 7 seconds, 15 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 15, 30, 60 etc. Adjust your story to fit the media style, time frame etc.
Prepare and Practice!! The Three Pillars of Interview Skills!! Keep It Simple!! Never Wing It!!
<ul><li>LIVE </li></ul><ul><li>TAPE </li></ul><ul><li>RADIO </li></ul><ul><li>TELEVISION </li></ul><ul><li>PRINT </li></ul><ul><li>STANDING </li></ul><ul><li>SITTING </li></ul><ul><li>STUDIO </li></ul><ul><li>HOSPITAL </li></ul><ul><li>LIVE REMOTE </li></ul><ul><li>SCENE OF ACCIDENT </li></ul><ul><li>MORNING DRIVE </li></ul><ul><li>GOOFY / SERIOUS / LIGHT HEARTED / TRADITIONAL </li></ul><ul><li>CONSUMER </li></ul><ul><li>PUBLIC BROADCASTING </li></ul>Your Prep & Performance Depends On The Type Of Media
Match The Energy Level Of Your Host! You Host Most hosts will have a higher energy level than you. You will most likely need to artificially increase your energy to appear even with the pros.
<ul><li>Know your show / host / reporter for style, </li></ul><ul><li>format, dress, happy talk or serious, energy level… </li></ul><ul><li>Know your audience – colleagues, customers, friends, adversaries </li></ul><ul><li>Know who you are - expert ready to teach a few simple points. Be confident and stay on message. </li></ul><ul><li>Know that the reporter or host is not your audience – they are facilitator </li></ul><ul><li>Know that becoming a good interview will cultivate a relationship with reporters and you can become a “source”. </li></ul>Know:
<ul><ul><li>Newspaper reporters = A Good Quote </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FIELD TV reporters = A Good Sound Bite! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ON SET TV Hosts = Energy and Concise Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Radio hosts = Energy, Enthusiasm, Information </li></ul></ul>What The Reporter Is Looking For:
What To Say: <ul><ul><li>We are unfocused in normal conversation and fairly boring to a TV audience, therefore we have to speak in concise bits ! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem is - we know too much to give a good interview! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Therefore we must learn to focus and keep it simple!! (KISS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you don’t know, say: “I Don’t Know, but I’ll find out”…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If a reporter asks several questions, pick the one you want to answer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FOR TAPED INTERVIEWS: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeat the essence of the question in your answer. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><ul><li>Repeat the essence of the question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in your answer!!! </li></ul></ul>Q: Won’t banning Pit Bulls make our communities safer? A: No, it won’t! Such actions do not work. Q: Won’t banning Pit Bulls make our communities safer? A: Banning Pit Bulls is a bad idea. It will not make our communities safer.
Depends on what “it” is: BAD Answer: Q: Won’t this pet insurance really just drive up the cost of vet care? A: Well, many of my clients have it and they seem to like it . I have several clients that don’t have it and they just have to pay for the bill or maybe put it on a credit card. I don’t think any of that will affect my fees, as they have remained very constant over the past few years and we are very proud of that.
GOOD Answer: Q: Won’t this pet insurance really just drive up the cost of vet care? A: ! Pet Insurance is designed to help pet lovers pay for the cost of pet medical bills. ! Veterinary care is advancing every day and now, more than ever, we need third party payment for our veterinary bills. ! Pet Insurance is very inexpensive and pays for thousands of medical and surgical conditions in dogs and cats!
How we talk: What the Media Wants ! ! ! ! ! None of us talk this way – it takes practice!
Message Points (Communication Foundation) Veterinarians do not see populations but individual patients. Therefore we cannot base our vaccination recommendations on limited studies on populations of animals. We must make decisions based on what’s best for our individual pets. Sound Bites (A Media Bullet Point) We base our recommendations on an individual risk assessment and make a decision on what’s best for the patient. Examples of:
Essentials of Sound Bites and Quotes: <ul><li>They are brief, forceful, to-the-point statements. </li></ul><ul><li>They cut to the heart of the issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, you are not telling the story </li></ul><ul><li>The reporter wants you to add color, credibility, facts and expertise. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate the question into your answer </li></ul><ul><li>Take a brief pause (for editing) </li></ul><ul><li>Practice 5-10 points </li></ul><ul><li>Plan on delivering 4-5 </li></ul><ul><li>Reporter will use (or audience will remember) 1-3! </li></ul>
<ul><li>Remember to use visuals both </li></ul><ul><li>…… ..on TV and Radio! </li></ul><ul><li>Good visuals include a pet, models, x-rays, video, pre-produced graphics, book, instrument, even bottle of medication… </li></ul>Always have a Prop! <ul><li>Use your visuals to drive home your message points </li></ul><ul><li>Use your visuals to “Guide” the interview </li></ul><ul><li>Use your visuals to decrease nervousness </li></ul>WHY?
<ul><li>Example of Guardianship Issue Message Points Written as Sound Bites! </li></ul><ul><li>Veterinarians are caring professional people. We’ve dedicated our lives to relieving animal suffering. </li></ul><ul><li>Veterinarians are also pet owners, so we truly understand the bond we have with our pets. This bill is loaded with unintentional consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>We also understand the heartache that occurs when a pet is sick or dies. Legislation such as HB 1260 does absolutely nothing to ease this heartache. </li></ul><ul><li>Veterinarians are the most important link in your pets’ health care delivery and nothing about making people “guardians” will improve that care, compassion and dedication. </li></ul>
<ul><li>In fact, legislation like this makes it harder for us to deliver good care and it will make care more expensive for all pet owners. </li></ul><ul><li>If this bill passes it will make pet care more expensive. There will be an increase in costs of insurance, paperwork, recordkeeping, tests and procedures. </li></ul><ul><li>This bill will also cost our state more money for implementation and execution. This will only compound our court system challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Animal Shelters and other welfare organizations provide a very valuable service to our city. This bill will also make it more difficult for these humane shelters to provide care for abandoned, stray or lost pets. That’s just bad policy. </li></ul><ul><li>I feel for the man who lost his pet. But we should not let one man’s grief turn our system upside down and increase the financial burden for everyone. </li></ul>
Message Points Sound Bites How do I get to my messages from a leading or negative question??? Q
Answers should not be simple answers. Simple answers “beg” another question. Answers should always bridge to key messages! Especially when questions are leading or negative… Answer and deflect quickly, then use a bridging statement and get back on the message point page! The Crucial Art Of Bridging!! ! ! !
Q: Aren’t all these advances just driving up the cost of pet care? A: The cost of good care is increasing, but the good news is more pet owners can afford that care with advances like pet insurance! Q: Yes, but isn’t this going to create more paperwork and more hassle? A: There is some paperwork, but what’s really important here is someone else is paying most of your veterinary bill!
Q: We’ve spoken with a dog owner who says her dog died immediately after receiving a rabies vaccination. That can’t be a safe procedure. More Bridging! A: (Start Positive) Millions of doses of rabies vaccine have been given safely. (answer and deflect) With such large numbers, you will see a few adverse reactions. (don’t speculate) I don’t know what happened in that case, (bridge) but what I can tell you is … (key message point ) Rabies vaccine and all the other vaccines we use have been tested extensively and used safely. We believe that the diseases these vaccines prevent are far more dangerous than a few adverse reactions.
More Bridging: Q: I’ve read recent news reports that say regular vaccines are not necessary either as often as veterinarians recommend or at all. What do you say to that? A: (Don’t Speculate) I don’t know what reports you are referring to… (bridge) but what I DO know is.. (key message point) Vaccine administration is one of the most effective and cost efficient tools that veterinarians have to protect animal populations and individual animals from serious and deadly diseases.
Pit Bull Ban: Q: Pit Bulls bite and kill more people than any other breed. Why shouldn’t they be banned? Banning a breed is an emotional response to the real problem. The real issue at hand is irresponsible ownership of dogs. A ban on one breed does not prevent dog bites from all the other dogs that can cause a problem. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER … The right training, socialization and supervision is crucial in living safely with dogs. In reality… breed bans don’t work.
Q: So why does Denver say they have not had a problem since the implementation of the ban? I do not know who you talked with , but what I do know is.... Communities that enforce well thought out existing laws have shown a reduction in problems with dangerous dogs. Q: So what community has done this right? Lakewood is a good example of a community that has done this right . They have properly enforced good animal control laws, educated the public and have been able to address this issue of dangerous dogs without breed specific bans.
Q: Wouldn’t a breed ban immediately make our community safer? A breed ban will actually put us in more danger. Many people will abandon these potentially dangerous dogs, and the effect of a ban will put us at more risk. An important point to remember … We WANT our communities to be safe. But breed bans miss the mark because they expect responsible behavior from irresponsible owners.
<ul><li>Q: Is it true that home owners insurance companies won’t insure a home that has a dangerous dog? If so, why do you think that is? </li></ul><ul><li>It is true that some insurance companies have a list of some dogs of concern, our key message point is…. </li></ul><ul><li>Historically, breed bans don’t work well. </li></ul><ul><li>Breed bans also do not address the social issues if irresponsible ownership. </li></ul><ul><li>Breed bans LOOK Good on the surface, but are really a simplistic answer to a complex problem. </li></ul><ul><li>The answer is … Socialization, Sterilization and Supervision. In addition the community should report dangerous dogs and expect enforcement of our existing laws. </li></ul>
A: One brand of prescription diet was recalled simply because that one brand used wheat gluten in order to help make the very unique formula. None of their other dry food products contain wheat gluten. The good news is… it was recalled immediately, 25,000 veterinary hospitals were notified over the weekend and the formula is being re-worked now to no longer contain wheat gluten. This was a precautionary response and a very positive response. This was also a very unique case and a very small percentage of this company’s brands. I am happy to say… veterinarians knew of this immediately and took all the right actions. Q: Doctor, this weekend one of the most respected names in the pet food business, Hill’s prescription diet was recalled for the same tainted wheat gluten in a dry food. It appears no pet food is safe anymore – is it?
A: I have always fed my pets a high quality premium dry food. They have done very well, they are healthy and it could not be better for them and frankly more convenient for me. Further let me say that should any pet owner have a question about pet nutrition, your family veterinarian is THE source for this advice. While pet store attendants, breeders and others in the field do have some training by the manufacturers, your family veterinarian is the only professional who can properly consider the entire pet’s physiology and special medical needs. Remember your veterinarian is a doctor and nutrition is an important part of animal health. Q: In light of this dangerous situation, what do you feed your pets?
A: No. What I’m saying is get your initial recommendations from your veterinarians, then let the pet food retailers help you select what your veterinarian has recommended. You should know that many veterinarians actually sell many superb brands of food in their clinics or hospitals. I believe you can feel perfectly safe in choosing a brand recommended by your veterinarian. Q: Are you saying we should not buy food from pet food stores?
A: It is true. This one brand, one case was unique and handled exactly right. There are hundreds of high quality dry and canned foods on the market today that are not only safe but high quality. Most people don’t know … that pet food is made to exacting standards. Pet food manufacturers are regulated by the FDA. In fact , according to the Pet Food Institute, these diets often undergo more screening and testing than human foods. I believe that in a situation like this contamination, it is good for the industry and our profession to re-examine and always be improving what is an industry with a fantastic track record. Q: But you said all dry food was safe. That’s not true is it
Going To Be A HUGE Category of Negative Media Stories for a few years!
<ul><li>High Cost Of Veterinary Care / Competitive Veterinary Fees: </li></ul><ul><li>In a situation where you are asked to comment on or to criticize another professional – you simply cannot. It almost always calls for speculation and you must not speculate in front of a camera, microphone or a print reporter. </li></ul><ul><li>To steer away from speculation simply state that you do not know the facts in that particular case BUT WHAT YOU DO KNOW… then tell them what you DO know. </li></ul><ul><li>When or if you are personally attacked or even receive the insinuation of personal attack, take the high road. Be proud of what you do because you have nothing to hide. Nor do you have to answer for the whole profession. You can only speak to what you know. </li></ul>
4. You may very well know that "most" veterinarians do things correctly, professionally and honorably – don't be shy about telling them that. 5. Don't be afraid to refute a leading question with a simple NO… then correct the mis-guided assumption. 6. More image and impression than fact are communicated in the media! Burn that into your brain. 7. Be the voice of reason! Hold your head high and answer questions honestly and stick with what you know. 8. There is nothing wrong with saying that you keep an eye on cost and use common sense. That is part of your "art" of practice and your humanity. Show me (as the viewer) that you are human and that you care.
9. Don't be afraid to agree that some cases may not be handled in a way that you would handle them. Then talk about how YOU would handle such a case. Slightly agreeing with an accusing reporter (frankly that has a real point) makes you look human and real. If you come across as defensive all the time, you'll appear as part of the problem.
Q: Why is veterinary care so expensive? A: Veterinary Care is actually a bargain. We care for our animal patients medically and surgically at a fraction of the cost of human medical care. Most good practitioners do take into consideration the cost of good care, yet we strive to deliver high quality medicine using the best equipment and diagnostics available.
Q: We took a dog that was pronounced healthy by a respected veterinarian to two other animal clinics and they said we needed up to $700 in tests and treatments. That sounds like gouging doesn't it? A: ( you cannot speculate – just don't do it) I'm not familiar with that case, but what I can tell you is , our concern is always the well being of the animals. We have to asses and treat each case individually and we are proud of the level of both good medicine and good common sense we practice at this hospital.
Q: Yes, but in this scenario, isn't it wrong for one doctor to say that a pet is fine, and two others find "hidden" problems and want to charge hundreds of dollars? A: (it is okay to agree in principle with a general wrong doing, and then tell them what most good practitioners do) On the surface that does seem wrong, but I can't be pulled into a game of speculation. What I am happy to tell you is that most veterinarians are kind and caring doctors and we want what's best for both the pet and the owner. That means taking an overall view of the relationship. If a veterinarian runs unneeded tests or performs unnecessary procedures there is a state board of examiners in place for just that type of complaint. The good news is that it is a rare and unusual case as most veterinarians understand both good medicine and the economics of such care.
IN SEVERAL STATES THIS STORY IS HAPPENING, AND WILL BE MORE COMMON. BE PREPARED! A Reporter Might Call With This Basic Question: “ Doctor, we are doing a story on the top ten drugs you prescribe at your office. Would you be willing to do an interview on your veterinary prescriptions?” And you may confidently say…SURE, Come On Over!
The first reporter’s question is: “ Why do vets markup their drugs by outrageous amounts like 300% - when human drugs aren’t marked up at all? ” A: Ahaaa……. (you have been caught off-guard and unprepared – on camera!) You see now why preparation is so important
“ Why do vets markup their drugs by outrageous amounts like 300% - when human drugs aren’t marked up at all? ” A: First, it's not true that human drugs are not marked up. Human pharmaceuticals have a tremendous markup. Pets are living longer because of good preventive care and new therapies. Most of these drugs are reasonably priced, others are more. A veterinary hospital will mark up a drug to cover the cost of purchase, stocking, dispensing and recordkeeping which is a very normal process. The good news is your primary care veterinarian is best suited to decide what drugs are right for your pet, prescribe the latest technology, and deliver that to you directly – without making a separate stop at the pharmacy, for a very reasonable fee.
“ Why does Wal Mart offer hundreds of prescriptions for only $4 a month, yet our survey shows veterinary hospitals charge many times that?” A: I can't speak for Wal Mart's policies, but I can say they buy nationally in huge quantities and can get an excellent price for many common drugs. Also remember the ONLY drugs such pharmacies offer for a small price are very common generic prescriptions which are very inexpensive. It is wrong to compare common generics with more modern and newly discovered therapeutic medications that cost more. I am happy to say that veterinarians do a very good job in keeping costs low yet offer the very best in medicine and surgery for our pet patients. Veterinary Medicine is and has always been quite a bargain.
“ In Europe, pet owners get their drugs at the local pharmacy. Why shouldn’t pet owners do the same here?” A: Some veterinary drugs are available at the local pharmacy and veterinarians often write prescriptions for a pet owner to do exactly that. However, many of our newest and most effective drugs are not available at human pharmacies. This is the reason veterinarians must order, stock and dispense these drugs at the veterinary hospital. Further in today's busy world most pet owners don't need the hassle of an extra stop on the way home with kids and pets in the car. Veterinarians can directly control and assure the proper medication, and make this convenient for the pet owners at the same time.
“ Pet owners can get their drugs online at a fraction of the price – without a prescription. Why should they come to you at all?” A: I don't know where you are getting your information but I can tell you a pet owner must have a prescription for any prescribed drug – it's the law. Even on-line, a prescription from a licensed veterinarian must exist. You must remember that veterinary hospitals are individual businesses and we do not have the ability to buy in huge volumes on a national scale. While some dispensed drugs may cost more from your veterinarian, remember your pet's doctor knows you and your pet, prescribes the proper medication and assures the correct drug at the right dose is given. They also assure the drugs are not expired! Something else to consider is that most people use their health insurance's drug benefit plan to purchase drugs at a pharmacy – which makes it appear as though the prescriptions are cheaper. Human health insurance does not cover a pet’s prescriptions.
Why would you (the vet) charge a mark-up on drugs when you’re already charging the client for an examination? Why wouldn’t you inform your clients that they have the option of filling their script at a pharmacy where it’s probably cheaper? Adding a mark-up on top of an already costly drug makes it unaffordable for pet owners. Don’t you care that a pet might die if his owner can’t afford the treatment? Why are some veterinary drugs so much more expensive than their human equivalents? Aren’t you veterinarians worried that in a bad economy your high fees and markups will cause you to lose business and further cause animals to go without care? Other Reporter Question Examples:
Q: “What can pet owners do to save money if their pet is on an expensive maintenance drug?’’ A: Veterinarians are aware of the hard economic times and want the best for their client’s pets. Many veterinarians are usually willing to work with the clients with whom they have a long standing relationship. But veterinarians also understand that clients might want to shop around to find the best price. Q: “Is there any way a veterinarian can help his or her clients save money on prescriptions in these tight economic times?’’ A: That is a conversation that should take place between a client and their veterinarian. Many veterinarians are willing to work with clients if they are in dire straits, but it would be addressed obviously on a case-by-case basis. The veterinarian is still a business owner and has obligations of his or her own as well. BAD Examples of this same story – Done By A “PR Pro”!
Allied Professional Care In Vet Med Florida Case Example: <ul><li>Why is their modality the practice of vet med? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you provide these services in your practice? </li></ul><ul><li>If not, why not? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you feel these professionals should be limited? </li></ul><ul><li>These things help people, why wouldn’t they help animals. </li></ul><ul><li>Why would you be against that? </li></ul><ul><li>Why shouldn’t we have the right to choose? </li></ul><ul><li>Isn’t this just about money?? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is their training not appropriate? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s the harm in this extra care for our pets? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a legitimate need that vet med is not meeting? </li></ul><ul><li>Aren’t you just trying to push drugs for profit? </li></ul>
Q: Why is their modality the practice of vet med? A: The practice of veterinary medicine is dictated by the Florida Practice Act which is designed to protect the public from incompetent and unlicensed care for their pets. The definition of veterinary medicine is important because veterinarians are doctors and have trained intensively for many years to be able to properly diagnose and treat animal diseases. These procedures by definition constitute the practice of veterinary medicine. The good news is… your family veterinarian is the best professional for the delivery of medicine and care for your pets. AND…there are many veterinarians who ARE providing these therapies. This maintains the doctor client relationship.
Q: Why do you feel these professionals should be limited? A: These therapists are trained in human medicine. They are not trained in the care of pets and have the potential to do harm. The good news is … that there are veterinary professionals who have advanced training in these therapies and who understand animal anatomy and diseases. What’s really important here is … These licensed professionals are the best for delivering care for your family pet.
Q: Isn’t this just about money?? A: Our concern is always the well being of the animals. Veterinarians are always the best source of quality care for your pets. We at Riverside Animal Hospital always want the best for your pets. We deliver only the best in quality care for all our patients. We are all pet owners ourselves!! We understand the bond between people and their pets, therefore we only want the best in care for these family members. I have real concerns in allowing unlicensed and untrained care. I don’t know what kind of background most of these therapists have….WHAT I DO KNOW IS…. Your family veterinarian is the best source of professional care for all your pet’s medical and surgical needs.
Dog Flu! <ul><li>A reporter has heard of this news story. She is a dog lover and has been assigned this story for the 5 PM news. You have agreed to do the interview and she is on the way over. </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Questions: </li></ul><ul><li>Can you tell us the situation on Canine Flu? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it the same as people flu or avian flu? </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve heard it came from horses, it that true? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the symptoms? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you distinguish it from Kennel Cough? </li></ul><ul><li>How would a pet owner know if their dog had flu? </li></ul><ul><li>What action should pet owners take? </li></ul><ul><li>Wouldn’t it be dangerous to take dogs to a kennel or vet’s office now? </li></ul><ul><li>What percentage of dogs die from flu? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we prevent it? Why is there no vaccine? </li></ul><ul><li>Should old, young or people with weak immune systems be concerned? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are we seeing so many flu viruses in the world? </li></ul><ul><li>It’s it true these viruses can mutate and jump species? </li></ul><ul><li>Then why do you believe it is of no concern for people? </li></ul><ul><li>What will happen if this virus is found in people / cats? </li></ul><ul><li>We really should just keep our dogs inside – right? </li></ul><ul><li>What drugs are used to treat this disease? </li></ul>
<ul><li>Answers: (Notice you don’t just answer) </li></ul><ul><li>Canine Influenza is a new, virus that can affect dogs. It has been identified in several states. The good news is the cases we’ve seen so far are in racing dogs and dogs kenneled in stressful environments. The disease is not likely to affect your dogs. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a different virus than the avian or human flu and it is not likely this virus will infect people. </li></ul><ul><li>The virus apparently did mutate from an Equine strain of Influenza. Influenza viruses can mutate, but you should know that this is a rare occurrence. </li></ul><ul><li>Affected dogs develop a cough and can develop high fevers. If you see any such symptoms you should visit your veterinarian. It is important to know that there are many less severe diseases that show similar symptoms. </li></ul><ul><li>Dogs also get a runny nose that usually resolves with antibiotic treatment. Such infections are usually easy to treat. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Happily I can tell you there is a new vaccine for this disease . Also many respiratory diseases look similar so you should speak with your veterinarian about this. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not thought to be contagious to humans or other animals. The good news is most of these viruses are very species specific. </li></ul><ul><li>Veterinarians are best suited to care for your pet and prevent disease. All precautions necessary are taken in animal hospitals to prevent spread of any infectious disease. </li></ul><ul><li>For now prevention is best done by avoiding unnecessary contact with other dogs especially if your dog is old, young or has a compromised immune system. Fortunately most dogs are not at high risk of becoming sick. </li></ul><ul><li>Influenza viruses have taken various up and down cycles throughout history. An important point here is that these viruses can be controlled and the CDC is monitoring this disease carefully. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Historically these viruses remain within a species and have been controlled with proper precautions. We do watch Influenza viruses closely. </li></ul><ul><li>(Reporter asks a question that requires speculation)…I cannot speculate on that, but what I can tell you is normal precautions and the advice of your veterinarian will help you prevent any exposure to this disease. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not necessary to keep your dogs inside. I would avoid unnecessary exposure of your dogs to other dogs especially if your dog is very old, young or has immune system problems. Remember, it is very unlikely your dog will be exposed to this disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently the treatments we have are supportive care and antibiotics, even if a dog gets this flu virus, it is most likely it will recover with good care from your veterinary hospital. Don’t forget to ask your veterinarian about flu vaccination. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Bridging Statements Extracted: </li></ul><ul><li>The good news is …. </li></ul><ul><li>..you should know that … </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to know … </li></ul><ul><li>I can tell you… </li></ul><ul><li>Happily this is very rare… </li></ul><ul><li>Fortunately most dogs… </li></ul><ul><li>An important point here is that… </li></ul><ul><li>I cannot speculate on that, but what I can tell you is… </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Positive Points Extracted: </li></ul><ul><li>The disease is not likely to affect your dogs. </li></ul><ul><li>..you should know that this is a rare occurrence. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to know that there are many less severe diseases that show similar symptoms. </li></ul><ul><li>I can tell you there are vaccinations for other respiratory diseases and you should speak with your veterinarian about this. </li></ul><ul><li>The good news is most of these viruses are very species specific. </li></ul><ul><li>All precautions necessary are taken in animal hospitals to prevent spread of any infectious disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Fortunately most dogs are not at high risk of becoming sick. </li></ul><ul><li>..the CDC is monitoring this disease carefully. </li></ul><ul><li>..normal precautions and the advice of your veterinarian will help you prevent any exposure to this disease. </li></ul>
Ask the questions they have never heard before – then make them think out loud on the air. Chris Mathews - MSNBC Insight from the Pros! The best follow-up question is: “What did you mean by that…” Then they have to elaborate and get off their talking points. Bob Schieffer – CBS News
Never answer the question they have asked. Answer the question you WISHED they had asked! Robert S. McNamara Sec. of Defense 1962-1968 Insight from the Pros!
The Perfect Answer: Q: _______________?? A: Positive Statement (or answer/deflect) Bridge Message Point That sounds good, doesn’t it?
The Perfect Answer: Positive Statement (or answer/deflect) I’m proud of the medicine we deliver… I don’t know what report you refer to… It’s too early to tell…. Costs are increasing… There is some paperwork… Bridge What I do know is… What I can tell you is… I am not sure of that, here is what I’m sure of… The key point here is… The good news here is… What’s really important here is… Message Points A B C
(bridge AGAIN) I can also tell you that today, these pets being taken care of because of the time and dedication of our staff and volunteers. Q: How much money do you make? A: (Sometimes you just can’t answer) It is our hospital policy not to talk about matters of finance, insurance or security…. (bridge) but what I CAN tell you is.. (key message point) Veterinarians make a comfortable living and we are proud of the service we offer for both our clients and the community. We’ve made a substantial personal investment in this hospital and we are proud to be a valuable part of our area’s public health.
Avoid certain topics (litigation, trade secrets, confidentiality, security) Never use the phrase “No Comment” - Sounds guilty. It’s a bit too early to talk about that…but what I can tell you is… I find that interesting…and that’s all I can say at the moment. That deals with just one aspect of the issue…..then bridge Jokes don’t work in an interview Funny analogies are okay “ Changing Washington would be like teaching an elephant to tap-dance” (Ross Perot) More Interview Tips:
<ul><li>Avoid using too many numbers. If you must, round them! “243,350 = about a quarter a million” or “1,231 is about 12 hundred”. </li></ul><ul><li>If you make a mistake, stop and restate! “I’d like to do that over”. Don’t get flustered. “I’d like to restate that….I’d like to go back to something I said earlier” etc… </li></ul><ul><li>If you find yourself getting angry – don’t. (Eg. nasty radio, combative radio) </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing is “off the record” </li></ul>More Interview Tips:
Aaahh’s………….. AndAaahh… YaNo….. Actually………… ……………………… .So….. Basically………… So…………………………… She was like … It was like … NamSayen…? AndUmmmm PRACTICE is what will allow you to avoid using meaningless filler words and phrases like these!
<ul><li>Breathe </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Sit on the front part of the chair </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of swivel chairs! </li></ul><ul><li>Use Your Props! </li></ul><ul><li>Use hand gestures – carefully (they help pacing, look alive and involved) </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain eye contact with the host/reporter. (nose or chin?) </li></ul><ul><li>Live – okay to look away briefly, or to emphasize a point to the camera, then look back to the host. (careful with this) </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise your voice before going on, drink something hot </li></ul><ul><li>Coffee helps </li></ul><ul><li>Stay away from carbonated drinks before an interview! </li></ul><ul><li>Pause before you answer </li></ul>How To Relax, and other tips:
<ul><li>What To Wear? </li></ul><ul><li>Business or business casual </li></ul><ul><li>Dark colors better for men </li></ul><ul><li>Navy coats are conservative and trustworthy </li></ul><ul><li>No stripes or plaids – NO white coats! NO goofy prints! </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid bright red shirts or blouses (accents okay) </li></ul><ul><li>No logos (unless you get a Nike contract!) </li></ul><ul><li>Make up – if at all possible </li></ul><ul><li>No dangling jewelry, accessories to a minimum. </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent “shine” </li></ul><ul><li>Hairspray, trim your beard and fly-aways etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Always wear a smile! </li></ul><ul><li>Watch TV and listen to radio </li></ul><ul><li>… ..you will learn a lot! </li></ul>… .and other tips:
NEW Media! Why The Explosion? 60% believe traditional media does not report facts or are biased! Only 39% Trust Today’s Media In 1995 the opposite was true! New Gen SEEKS news/information
<ul><li>Social Media Evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising is failing (14% trust & 18% ROI) </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional Media Is Failing </li></ul><ul><li>24 our of 25 top papers in record declines </li></ul><ul><li>--------------------------------------------------- </li></ul><ul><li>In 2010 Gen Y will surpass Baby Boomers </li></ul><ul><li>96 % of them have a social media profile. </li></ul><ul><li>71% of those have 2 or more </li></ul><ul><li>Gen Y’s are introverted, uncomfortable with face to face communications, need instant gratification, search for news and information rather than wait for it. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Other Important Facts: </li></ul><ul><li>78% Trust Peer Recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>The fastest growing demo on Facebook is </li></ul><ul><li>55-65 yr. females! </li></ul><ul><li>#2 Search engine is You Tube! </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia has 13 M articles and now more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica. </li></ul><ul><li>78% non-English! </li></ul><ul><li>Russians are the most engaged in Social Media. 6.6 hrs. per day. </li></ul><ul><li>Many radio and TV operations are not listening to this! And don’t have a plan. </li></ul>
<ul><li>New Media is…….. </li></ul><ul><li>Using new digital technologies to Promote a cause / business / product / political view </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen Journalists </li></ul><ul><li>Business Promoters </li></ul><ul><li>Activists </li></ul><ul><li>Internet methods to build audience or narrow-cast to your clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Veterinarians use New Media for promotion and any type of communications </li></ul>
<ul><li>What are common </li></ul><ul><li>New Media Marketing Methods? </li></ul><ul><li>Email Newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Web Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Social Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer Review Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Web Ads (banner, Pop Up) </li></ul><ul><li>Viral e-mail </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engines (pay to appear) </li></ul><ul><li>3G mobile communications </li></ul><ul><li>New Interactive TV (no longer one way) </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Benefits of </li></ul><ul><li>New Media </li></ul><ul><li>Helps everyone (awareness is a rising tide) </li></ul><ul><li>Versatile and Low cost </li></ul><ul><li>Usually highly focused </li></ul><ul><li>You can do it </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t need an agency </li></ul><ul><li>Can happen immediately! (crisis) </li></ul><ul><li>So why aren’t we doing more of this?? </li></ul>
Because… <ul><li>We don’t understand it </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t know how to start </li></ul><ul><li>Takes time + management concerns </li></ul><ul><li>For some, it is out of our comfort zone </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not client communications – </li></ul><ul><li>it is client Conversations ! </li></ul>
<ul><li>But don’t forget… Traditional Media still has huge Audience and need the help </li></ul><ul><li>You simply want to EARN some of their air-time and ink to deliver your message </li></ul><ul><li>And do this now while Traditional Media is transitioning to NEW Media. </li></ul>We are in a Time of Media Transition!
<ul><li>Social Media Networking </li></ul><ul><li>96% of all your clients have a social media profile. </li></ul><ul><li>71% of those have 2 or more. </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn – business / executive oriented. A powerful connection service for any business person or professional. </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook – friendly, reconnect with friends, make new friends, connect with organizations, hobbies, announce news, post pictures. </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter – instant worldwide comments that gains followers. Also a tremendous research tool that reaches some of the most knowledgeable minds in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace – Artist and talented oriented. Young audience </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging – your column on the net </li></ul><ul><li>Forums – interactive Q&A (like www.PetDocsOnCall.com ) </li></ul>
In a communications crisis, an organization without a plan is like a blind man trying to feel his way out of a burning building!! In an image crisis, the worst case scenario is the one most likely to occur!
<ul><li>Tell It All! </li></ul><ul><li>Tell The Truth! </li></ul><ul><li>Tell It Fast </li></ul><ul><li>Calm Public Fears </li></ul><ul><li>Be the Voice Of Reason </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Action Step! </li></ul>
Examples of Crisis Scenarios: <ul><li>Your clinic sent a deceased pet to a crematory. The client called the crematory and found out you have marked up the cost to them by 30%. They are outraged and they call the media. </li></ul><ul><li>A Pit Bull has killed another child in a neighbor’s back yard. Reporters are on their way over to discuss banning the breed. </li></ul><ul><li>A veterinarian working at the humane society has been found to not have an active license. It hits the news and they are wanting an interview from you. </li></ul><ul><li>A dog was euthanized before a family could adopt it. </li></ul><ul><li>PETA is picketing a pet store because of bad conditions. The veterinarian who helps the store is a good person and a friend of yours. Reporter is waiting in your front office. </li></ul><ul><li>Why is so much money being made on routine services at veterinary hospitals like selling insurance, vaccinations, grooming? </li></ul>
Examples of Crisis Scenarios: <ul><li>A cat with Bubonic Plague is brought to your hospital by the county animal control officials for care. The media finds out you have the case and are out front shooting pictures of your sign and hospital front. You agree to an interview and the reporter is telling the audience you have the Plague in your office and that it is very contagious. </li></ul><ul><li>Horse rescue foundation raises money to survive based on media attention for abused and neglected horses. The sheriff brings you a group of horses that have been severely neglected and the DA is bring a law suit against the owners. Your employee is out front giving an interview about the case, the DA is on the phone fighting mad! </li></ul><ul><li>A burning dog is thrown from a car on the freeway. The humane society brings you the dog for treatment. It is the lead story on the news. The phone rings non-stop and your office is impossible for a week. Phones jammed, media interviews, DA calling you to say stick with the talking points etc. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Dog was anesthetized for a career day event, then later euthanized. Parents objected and contacted media. You are contacted to do an interview about the case. </li></ul><ul><li>Your national meeting in underway and someone blogs to local media that animals are being put to sleep in your hands-on labs in the hotel. Media calls, hotel manager is calling. </li></ul><ul><li>KNBC takes healthy dogs to a DVM and he pronounces the dog healthy. Same dog is taken to other vets who want to do $$$ worth of diagnostics and treatments. When confronted vets hide from cameras. 2/08 </li></ul><ul><li>Chimp Kills Owners Friend – you are asked to comment on aggression in animals. </li></ul><ul><li>Factory farming legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Mrs. Pickens pulls gift and makes headlines stating horrible things happen to animals in veterinary schools. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Bring the situation </li></ul><ul><li>under control </li></ul><ul><li>Protect people and pets and property. Stop the crisis / damage / danger. </li></ul>
2. Is it newsworthy? The issue may settle in a few days or weeks. While it may seem like a crisis to you (because it’s personal, or emotional)… you do not want give “life” to an issue that has short media legs.
3. Assess the need for your immediate response If the issue is a small flash in the pan, it’s best not to make a statement for 24-48 hours and see how quickly it goes away. May dramatically decrease your response and need for damage control.
4. Gather all the facts. Don’t speculate. Crisis communications is a time for delivery of facts, not assumptions. Anything you say, you may have to return to defend or explain, and you are under the microscope.
5. Put public interest ahead of yours. Decide on your main message. Do the right thing. You will have to live with what you do here.
6. Develop a list of message points Short, to the point, statements that cut to the heart of the issue. Include the “hot seat” questions. Get everyone to approve. Practice them many times.
7. Assign a spokesperson Confirm or change your pre-assigned spokesperson, back up and technical support persons. Remind them that money estimates, insurance coverages, speculation and placing blame are not to be discussed. Nothing is “off the record”. Sometimes trained experts – not spokespersons - are needed (public safety, health)
8. Establish a phone message Establish the message and have operators strictly adhere to it – no ad-libing! “ We’ve just learned of the situation and we are gathering all the facts now. We will have more information later. “ We are working hard to bring the situation under control now so we can’t speculate on that…We will have more information later today.”
9. Write a press release with only basic facts In this initial communication, show concern for the public and your employees. Make sure an audience is left with an impression of concern and compassion.
10. Share the situation with employees If employees don’t feel like insiders, they will act like outsiders. That can cause you to lose control of the information flow.
11. Rehearse all media message points This is essential and must be done. Your spokesperson team must get in a quiet place and practice. Role-play and coach. Practice staying on message. All expected difficult questions should be rehearsed many times and asked in different ways. Practice bridging to positive points. Do not skip this vital rehearsal!!
12. Give the media all the information you can Give them the bad news too. This allows you to be in control of the release of bad news. In a crisis, you always attempt to control the flow of information. Be confident, tough and prepared.
13. Be honest confident, sincere. Tell the media you are being honest and you have nothing to hide. Tell them you have corrected the situation and are taking all proper steps. When you have done the right thing, you come across as honest and sincere. Do not volunteer information and stay with message points.
14. Be prepared to answer ALL hot seat questions Answer them, then bridge to a positive position. Don’t get caught in a Q&A session because all of the questions will be about the crisis. Now is the time to tell the press about the positive aspects of what you do and what you will do to prevent this from happening again.
15. Be compassionate More image and impression than fact is delivered in the media . Therefore always be compassionate, understanding, honest, hold your head high and deliver your position.
16. Perform some act of goodwill If it is not too contrived, do something good for the community either during or immediately after a crisis. This takes the “sting” out of bad press and proves you have gone the extra mile to help the situation.
17. Follow-up on all information you promised Make sure the media receives any promised detailed information as quickly as possible. Correct any problems with those affected by the crisis and do whatever is required to restore your reputation and public confidence.
18. Change! Actively correct problems . Do something different in an effort to forestall this happening again. Revise your communications plan based on what you learn.
19. Never Wing It! Winging an interview, much less a crisis situation, is asking for a much bigger disaster. No one speaks in controlled message point sound bites, therefore things will be said that will cause further investigation and probing. Especially in a crisis, stick with your plan and never wing it.
20. Do not get into confrontations If you feel yourself getting mad, don’t. Force yourself to calm down and go into message point robot mode. Your job is to deliver pre-arranged positions and show compassion, humility and honesty.
21. Stay with the issue at hand It is easy, especially with issues where you are personally involved, or where there is a great deal of emotion, to feel the need to say too much, explain details, give background information or try to win the reporters over to your side. Just stay on message and with the subject at hand and then leave.
22. Feel free to say “ I don’t know,… but I will find out”. You may be caught by surprise by a reporter’s question. You should never LOOK like you are surprised. Your sure-fire “out” is to say “I don’t know, but I can get you an answer by this afternoon”. Makes you look human, real and honest.
23. Don’t speculate on “ What If” questions “ What If” questions are a game the media plays to get you to speculate. Speculation can end up on the headlines. Military spokespersons now simply say “We don’t answer “what if” questions.
24. Always Bridge! This is your safety net and the way you control a potentially bad situation. Learn how to answer and or deflect, then get to something you DO want to talk about. Practice these!
25. Dress conservatively and professionally Look neat, conservative and trustworthy because on television your physical image is more than half your message! (80%?) More image and impression than fact is delivered in the media.
A Self Study Exercise: <ul><li>Pick A Subject (from the notes) </li></ul><ul><li>A reporter is coming over in 1 hour!! </li></ul><ul><li>Go through the process of quick but proper preparation and practice: </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Answers </li></ul><ul><li>Message Points </li></ul><ul><li>Bridging Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Positive “bridge-to” Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Rehearse Interviews: </li></ul><ul><li>Standing - Live </li></ul><ul><li>Sitting – Taped </li></ul><ul><li>Radio – Wild </li></ul><ul><li>On Set – Morning Show </li></ul>
Here is how you do this: <ul><li>Write down all questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down all the answers. </li></ul><ul><li>Then Craft these answers into Message Points. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify some good bridging statements. </li></ul><ul><li>Get in your head some positive points you’d like to bridge to. </li></ul><ul><li>Then practice with a friend playing “reporter”. </li></ul>
Contact Information: Dr. Jim Humphries Executive Director [email_address] 719-495-2100 Save your exam in Word as: Yourname.exam.doc And email to: email@example.com www.ASVJ.org