Following are six ways to defuse a crisis situation when speaking to the media:
• Know what you want to say before the interview. Instead of waiting for questions to trigger your message, look for opportunities to insert your messages into the conversation.
• If you don’t want something made public, then zip it.
• Avoid repeating negatives or using the reporter’s words because they can become your own.
• If the reporter asks three or four questions at once, pick the one you want to answer and stop.
• Stick to the facts. No matter how many ways the reporter repeats the questions, if it’s not fact, don’t speculate.
• Be careful not to say too much or the reporter might choose the wrong message to report. Remember, when speaking to reporters, less is always more.
This is excerpted from PR News' upcoming Crisis Management Guidebook, Volume 3. It is part of a larger article written by Karen Friedman, an international communications coach and president of Karen Friedman Enterprises.