Brevity is Poetry: Talking to the Media


We have a cardinal rule in effective media training: Be brief.  By knowing our audience, we can communicate more effectively, delivering a 10-word message rather than a 50-word ramble. We understand whom we are trying to reach and we know what they need to hear to drive them to action.

With all of these pieces in hand, we are now ready to effectively deliver the message.  We know the audience. We know the message.  We know the measures of success.  It is now time to deliver. And it is time to do so with seven key points:

1.    Prepare, prepare, prepare.
2.    Use succinct and quotable talking points to summarize and communicate your messages.  Ensure those points relate to your audiences.
3.    State points simply and briefly. Be honest and stop when you have answered the question.
4.    Make your points salient and relevant.  Use colorful language and offer useful analogies, personal experience and common sense that relate to your audiences.
5.    Offer the big picture, stress the bottom line, state your agenda and make a pitch for the help you need. Each stakeholder needs to know what he specifically can to do to be part of the solution.
6.    Bridge back to your message. Take the questions you've been asked and link it to an answer you want to provide.  Speak to the primary audience, not to the media.
7.    Repeat your basic message as often as possible!


This is excerpted from a larger article that appears in PR News Media Training Guidebook, 2009 Edition. It's written by Patrick R. Riccards, CEO of Exemplar Strategic Communications. To order this guidebook or find out information on other guidebooks, please visit www.prnewsonline.com/store.


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