What Not To Do When a Reporter Calls

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Just about everyone would love an oportunity to have their time to shine in front of the media.  A few minutes of quality air time can result in tremendous exposure for you and your product or business.

If you want to make the most out of your moments in front of the mic, here are some things you definitely should NOT do:

Talk about a subject matter you know nothing about or are not qualified to speak on.  It’s true that some of us can hold our own on a variety of subjects but if you have no direct expertise in the field, why would anyone want to use you as a quotable source.  For example, if you’ve never been a grandparent how can you discuss what it means to be a grandparent caregiver.

Lie, Guess or Speculate:  One thing reporters have been trained to do is dot all of thei I’s and cross their T’s so if you say something that sounds supect or questionable, a good reporter will check your informationt to verify its accuracy.  If they discover you’ve lied, they may keep on digging to see what other lies you may have told and it could get pretty ugly by the time to story is published.  Same goes for guessing or speculating.  If you don’t know the answer to the question, just say so.  There is no harm in that.

Get Upset or Angry:  Reporters are trying to get the story and may ask you some tough questions.  Getting mad at them will show you in an unfavorable light—especially if it’s captured on a microphone or on camera.

Show Off Your Education:  I believe in following the K.I.S.S. Rule.  “keep it simple suzie.”  Research has indicated that the average television and radio listener is on an 8th grade level so if you try to impress with ten dollar words, you are going to lose your audience.  Bottom line:  Speak in a way that everyone can understand.  

Say “No Comment.”  Saying “no coment” will only make an inquisitive journalist dig deeper into the story to see what you might be hiding.  If you don’t know the answer, once again just say you don’t know and move on.

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