“Being interviewed is like playing Russian roulette. You never know which question will kill you.”

That is the impression most PR specialists have when they deal with a crisis and they have to answer press questions. Today I’m going to note do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook Approach written by Fern Banks.

Do’s for Media Interviews

  • do listen to the whole question before answering
  • do use everyday language, not the jargon of your business or profession
  • do maintain an attitude showing you are calm, courteous, responsive, direct, positive, truthful, concerned and if necessary, repentant and apologetic
  • do understand the reporter’s job, respect deadlines and return phone calls promptly
  • do be accessible and pleasant
  • do try to treat the reporter as a partner, an ally in maintaining or restoring the company’s good image
  • do tell the truth, the whole truth, misleading or omitted facts are also forms of lying
  • do look the reporter in the eye
  • do you your Crisis Communication Plan
  • do keep employees informed of the crisis, they may be volunteer spokespersons.

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Do not’s for Media Interviews

  • do not be a wimp, being concerned and empathetic does not mean that you must shake in your boots
  • do not guess or speculate, either you know or you don’t
  • do not get overly upset about being quoted out of context
  • do not play favorites with media
  • do not pull advertising from a newspaper because reporters are not cooperative
  • do not consider your news release “golden”, if it is written well with real news, you have done the best you can do
  • do not stick to  a story if it has changed, just to be consistent because media realize that things change
  • do not be trapped into predicting the future
  • do not wear sunglasses or chew gum
  • do not smoke – unless you are in a place such as Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the economy is based on cigarette sales and smoking is a way of live.

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Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.