How to Use a Press Conference

July 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Wright Ideas

This article will explain the purpose of a press conference. It will give you recent examples of poor use and tips on how to set up your own successful press conference.

Press conferences have a purpose. You gather together press to make an announcement or give them information that will fuel their writing or talking about you in their media. You want bloggers to blog about your, the public to give you information, TV people to talk about your, radio people to report about you, and newspapers and magazines to write articles about you. In extreme cases, you want the kidnappers to give your loved one back. You have to give some information or facts, and then everyone can take it from there. People may ask questions that you have to deal with or you can say sorry, no questions at the end and walk away. It?s like a buffet, you put it out there, and people take what they need or want and leave. You cannot control what is written about you. You can greatly influence what is written by how you handle the Press conference. Always remember, YOU are the one invited people to the party, so it better be good.

Here a few bad examples: Sara Palin (you knew I would go there): First of all, get a sitter for your children. The beginning of her press conference, you have to try and hear over her child. Holidays are a great time to get a story out because most media staff is out. She gives the history of Alaska, talks about Alaska?s purpose and destiny. She talks of her administrations accomplishments and uses the example of working tirelessly for Alaskans. Not being from Alaska or living in Alaska, at this point in the press conference, I do not care about anything she has said yet. She is proud to take credit for hiring the right people and not taking a pay raise. She praises her team and says she wishes the media would tell them more about how good they are doing.

Palin explains why she is not taking any federal dollars. Then she says again, you don?t hear about the good stuff in media. Take a hint lady, you cannot speak badly about the press and then want them to carry a message for you. First she says Alaska has had to use tax payer money to deal with the investigations. Then she says that she has personally incurred over $500k in legal bills to defend herself and she has to deal with this instead of working for Alaska. She says she is making a choice to build up and fight for Alaska and work hard to support others who seek to serve. She says she doesn?t need a title to make a difference and help people. She is setting her state free to progress by not seeking re-election and immediately transferring the power to her Lt. Governor. I understand not seeking election. I am not sure why she cannot finish her time in office. She uses an analogy and tells us she is using one. Please do not assume the media is stupid and think you mean everything literally.

She uses the term Politics as Usual over and over again. And Talks about polling her kids (not her husband). One day she tells us her details. She talks about Trig being mocked by people, yet, there he is, in the public. You cannot have it both ways. Have your children in the media and no one talk about them. Strangely she says the world needs more Trigs. I have not seen the media make a comment on that, however, I am sure it?s coming. She says she is putting first things first and first she loves her job. She says she is calling an audible and passing the ball so her team can win. 2o minutes of a speech that says nothing but I am stepping down. When you do not supply any facts, then the media will make it up. They have to say something. They have to justify the time they spent on your story. It?s best to say something so they do not have to make it up.

Another bad example is one of the first Press Conferences from Michael Jackson?s Family. Upon his death, not many family members were talking. However, the press did find Joe Jackson, his father, who promptly announced his new record label. I think someone did tell him to stop talking to the press directly after that. If the press has questions for you, just answer them.

Here are some tips for good results from a press conference:
1. Give some real facts that have to do with your real reason for being there. General historical facts do not count.
2. Do not bad mouth media during your press conference
3. Control the environment. The wind and your baby crying can be a great distraction.
4. Speak slowly. Trying to talk fast makes it sound like you are not sincere.
5. Make the press release as visual as possible, have plenty of photo opportunities

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