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A Troubling Trend That Could Impact Every Media Spokesperson

Over the past couple of years, several popular websites have incentivized their writers with a compensation plan that sounds reasonable: If your stories generate more clicks, we’ll pay you more.

But think about the implications of that. If a writer / aggregator / reporter / blogger (let’s shorten that to the acronym “WARB”) has a direct incentive to generate more clicks, do you think they’re going to go with a straightforward headline or a more sensational one? Do you think they’ll exploit inadvertent “mini gaffes” more than they otherwise might?

It’s yet another trend that makes a spokesperson’s job that much harder.

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When You Score A Touchdown, Get Off The Field

You’ve just delivered the perfect media response. Your answer is on message and perfectly quotable. It will accomplish everything you had hoped. Then…you say more.

It pains me to see an answer that was brilliant in its first 15 seconds become diluted when it lasts for another minute. An extended answer also risks introducing secondary points that offer reporters the ability to quote something relatively unimportant.

When I see our trainees deliver a great answer—and then keep going—I tell them this: “When you score a touchdown, get off the field!”

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How To Prepare Questions For Your Own Media Interview

A reader recently wrote in and asked: “I am slotted to go on a local television show, and the interviewer asked me to provide a list of questions for her to ask me. Any suggestions for questions, or tips?”

It’s common for time-pressed television or radio hosts to ask guests for a list of questions in advance. That’s not a guarantee that they’ll stick to your questions, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to shape the interview—and its outcome.

Here are five types of questions you might prepare.

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Middle-Aged Media Dog Learns New Media Spokesperson Trick

“Treat every television news camera as if it’s rolling.” That media training mantra goes back to the dawn of the television era of electronic news gathering.

Is the camera on a tripod? Act as though it’s rolling. Is the camera slung over a journalists shoulder? Act as though it’s rolling.

But when it comes to recorded on-camera interviews, there has always been that quiet internal assurance on the part of even the most-experienced spokespersons that you could start over. Not so fast.

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Five Ways To Rock A Television Cooking Demo

Remember that old game of coordination in which you had to try to rub your belly and pat your head at the same time?

Television cooking demos can often feel similar—but with the addition of hot flames, sharp knives, and unpredictable hosts.

We’ve worked with dozens of chefs through the years and have observed that on-air cooking demos, which often last only two or three minutes, deserve a place on any list of challenging media formats. In this post, you’ll find five tips to help your next appearance run smoothly.

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The Media Training Lesson I Learned While On Safari

While on a South African safari in 2003, I received an instruction I’ll never forget.

Before leaving for a nature hike one morning, the guide turned to our group and told us to form a tight single file line. Lions, he informed us, tended not to attack a line of people—such lines appear to the lion to be a single large object and are therefore too threatening to attack—but lions harbor no such reservations if one person strays from the pack.

I recently experienced something during a training that made me think of that moment.

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Why Three Is The Magic Number For Interviews And Speeches

During our media training workshops, we typically recommend that people develop three main messages. During our presentation training workshops, we often suggest that speakers focus on one main theme supported by three supporting ideas.

Several trainees have asked: “Why three?”

There’s not a perfect answer to that question. But there’s a pretty good one.

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Bernie Sanders Interview Walk Off

The Bernie Sanders “Walk Off”: Four Options When Reporters Go Long

A reporter from NBC’s Phoenix affiliate recently interviewed Sen. Bernie Sanders regarding his chances in Tuesday’s Arizona Democratic primary.

After answering one of the reporter’s questions, Sanders stood, removed his microphone, and made clear the interview was over. The resulting video was posted online with the headline: “Bernie Sanders Walks Out of Interview.”

On the surface, that appears like a reasonable headline—but a few relevant facts make clear that’s not exactly what happened. And it leads to a question: What could Sanders have done better?

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