Executives without media training rarely know when to shut up. When they talk to the press it is all to common for executives to keep talking without an off switch. Just filling the empty air with useless and uninteresting details; effectively hiding the real story. The story they wanted to get out.
I Can’t Stop Talking
This verbal Niagara is a dead giveaway of someone not properly prepared by taking media training. Usually because of their own hubris and egos, “I’m too busy. I don’t have the time. Besides, I know how to talk.”
This has very real and painful consequences for them and their company. The reporter now has to sift through a lot of flotsam to find anything worth quoting in their coverage. The executive’s real message will likely be lost in the word salad they produce from just winging it, if they get quoted at all.
Or worse, their words will be out of context. Whose fault is that most often? Having personally trained dozens of senior executives to talk successfully with the press, executives who glibly pass on taking training have no one to blame but themselves. Watching executives flame out, who have actively disregarded my protestation on training, is not nearly as heartwarming as you would think. It is just painful and sad.
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Kare Anderson is is a noted adviser who works with executives to help them get their names and words picked up and repeated by the media. She has a lot of experience, too. She’s an Emmy-winning former NBC and Wall Street Journal reporter who now speaks and consults on how to communicate-to-connect and be frequently-quoted. As well, she is a columnist for Forbes, Huffington Post and Harvard Business Review.
While it takes practice with a professional, Kare says it comes down to understanding a few basic principles and applying them smartly.
Elements Of The Prefect Quote
- Don’t talk in generalizations or start with background. Avoid starting with generic or vague comments, or extraneous information.
- Make it relevant to the person you are speaking with.
- Start with a fact or question. Use a specific detail that proves the general conclusion.
Kare calls this A.I.R.
- Make it Actionable.
- Have Interestingness.
- Be Relevant.