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Media Training 101 for CEOs and Founders

Speaking to reporters can be daunting, even for CEOs and founders who've done it dozens of times. Each interview takes a certain amount of preparation and practice to make sure your messaging is on point for a given reporter's beat and area of interest.

But, with a little preparation and some practice scenarios, even the most timid among us can be become experts are briefing the press.

To get started, take a look at Media Training 101.

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Media Training 101 for CEOs and Founders

  1. 1. 1 MEDIA TRAINING 101 SparkprOCT 2015
  2. 2. 2 The Media
  3. 3. 3 CONTENTS 1 7 19 20 22 Media Overview Interview Strategies & Techniques Role of PR Practice Exercises Summary
  4. 4. 4 1 2 3 Accurate, useful and timely information that will connect with their readers, listeners, or viewers The job of the media is to tell a story using: Reliable sources of information Good visuals and/or sound bites Media Motivations
  5. 5. 5 • Timeliness: An event that is recent or immediate; it must be “current” • Change: An event that is new or different • Impact: An event that is likely to affect many people • Conflict: An event that reflects clashes of thinking, people or policy • Prominence: An event that involves well-known people or businesses • Proximity: An event that is close to the reporter/reader • Trends: An event based on what “will” be news • Surprise: An event that is a departure from the norm • Useful: An event that centers around education What Drives Coverage
  6. 6. 6 • Type of publication • Primary audience • Reporter’s experience with the issue • Type of story • Who else the reporter is interviewing • Where your point of view fits into the story • Questions you anticipate the reporter asking • 1-2 key messages you want to communicate Take Time to Prepare BEFORE AN INTERVIEW, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW:
  7. 7. 7 • Be prepared • Have additional factual information you may need or customer/analyst references • Read previous articles by reporter to learn what interests them • Be confident, credible; approach meeting as an equal • Be an enthusiastic participant • Be in control: demeanor, message and presentation • Be interesting: have ideas on other topics/companies/issues • Be thankful: friendliness will get you everywhere with media • If subject of spontaneous or informal interview, ask about specific focus Interview Strategy
  8. 8. 8 Delivery Matters. Research says content is less than 10% of the presentation. Voice and persona account for the other 90%.
  9. 9. 9 Cooperation Counts “Another spokesperson, the CEO of a small company, was engaging and went along with everything we requested. He even sent cookies to the crew after his interview! Whenever we needed a spokesperson for his particular industry, who do you think we turned to first? It’s not a coincidence that you see the same familiar faces on CNBC and CNN, they are good spokespeople, they speak in sound-bites and yes, they are cooperative.” Carmine Gallo, former business host for Fox News, CNN and CNET
  10. 10. 10 Interview Techniques Opening ClosingInterview • Share a piece of who you are up front; an anecdote about life, kids, family can lighten the mood • Ask media to reiterate story/angle they are exploring • Define your agenda • Speak in headlines with supporting points to follow • Block tough/negatives questions and bridge back to key messages • Avoid traps or surprises • Ask questions about what reporter believes/thinks in relation to topic • Offer final thoughts/summary of conversation: tie final message to larger story angle
  11. 11. 11 Making Yourself Quotable CLIMAX (Summary Lead) BODY (Facts in Diminishing Order of Importance) Minor Details DECREASINGINTEREST
  12. 12. 12 1 HOOK 2 BRIDGE 3 FLAG Techniques for Answering Questions
  13. 13. 13 • Influencing the next question that you will be asked when you end your message with a statement Hooking Definition • Always address the question, but elicit a follow-up question that you want to answer Technique • “Actually that’s the second most important part of our strategy.” • “We’ve been able to deliver these benefits for a number of reasons.” Examples
  14. 14. 14 • Moving from one aspect of an issue to another Bridging Definition • Answer briefly, then move to key message Technique • “Yes”...(the answer)... “and in addition”... the bridge • “No”...(the answer)... • “let me explain”... the bridge • “I don’t know” ...(address the question)…“what I do know is”…the bridge Examples
  15. 15. 15 Bridge, don’t block • Smooth connection phrases work wonders • “No one can completely predict the future, but what I can tell you is…” • “I believe what you’re really asking is…” • “That speaks to a bigger point…” • “Another way to say this is…” • Only “block” a question completely when you have a good reason • If you have to “block” explain why you need to do so, do not say “no comment” or “I can’t answer that” • Once you smoothly block then “bridge” to your key messages or the point you are trying to make
  16. 16. 16 Definition • Help your audience remember your message Technique • Emphasize or prioritize what you consider to be important Examples • “The most important point about our marketing strategy...” • “Allow me to make one final point.” Flagging
  17. 17. 17 Don’tsDos DO’S • Do know your key messages • Do speak in headlines, conclusion first • Do highlight key points; emphasize agenda • Do communicate clearly, avoid jargon • Do use facts, anecdotes to demonstrate credibility • Do be engaging and likeable • Do keep cool, don’t be provoked • Don’t assume you are ever “off the record” • Don’t waste time discussing competitors • Don’t over-answer; respond then stop • Don’t be fixated by a question, “bridge” to point • Don’t repeat a reporter’s negative statements or slurs; be positive • Don’t fake answers and never lie • Don’t air company gossip or dirty laundry Interview Tips: Dos and Don’ts
  18. 18. 18 • See it as an opportunity to speak of your strengths (use bridging techniques • “While I cannot comment on their strategy/product, I can say that ours offers the most comprehensive solution to enterprises on the market today” • Use third-party data to support your leadership messages • “Our customers such as Verizon and P&G will say that our solution allows their workforce to be 15% more productive, saving them more than $1M per year.” When Asked About the Competition
  19. 19. 19 • Introduces relationship • Sets meeting agenda • Interjects to correct course • Helps to bridge discussion • Follows up on action items • Closes the deal Role of PR
  20. 20. 20 Summary Be prepared Stay in control Let PR help you Know your audience
  21. 21. 21 Thank You San Francisco | New York Want more content like this? Subscribe to OpenView Labs.