“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.
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.