9 practical tips for any spokesperson

Some advice that will quickly bring a media relations pro up to speed before he or she meets with a reporter.

I’ve sometimes wondered: If I had to, could I successfully prepare a new spokesperson for his or her first media interview in 10 minutes or less?

Though it’s true that few beginners can become brilliant media communicators in mere minutes, I am convinced they can jump a couple of spots on a 1-to-10 scale. For example, someone who might rank as a 4 can leap to a 6 with just a few minutes of preparation.

Here are nine things I would tell a new spokesperson in the few minutes we had together—things he or she absolutely, positively, needs to know. If you learn nothing else before facing a reporter for the first time, these tips will help you up your game—in just a few minutes.

1. Develop a message: Little is more important than knowing what you want to communicate during an interview. Quickly jot down the three most important phrases or sentences you want to communicate to the audience.

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat: You should articulate at least one of your messages in every answer. You shouldn’t parrot them back verbatim, but should communicate the central idea of a message in each response.

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