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Chapter 19: How to Handle the Media Like a Pro

Overview

Consider the press. Treat it with tact and courtesy. It will accept much from you if you are clever enough to win it to your side.... Coax it, charm it, interest it, stimulate it, shock it now and then if you must, make it laugh, make it cry, but above all...never, never bore the living hell out of it.

—Noel Coward

Although a question-and-answer session with an audience inspires a fair share of fear, that fear pales when compared with the anxiety caused by facing the media. Yet business speakers are increasingly faced with—and increasingly surprised by—press interest in what they have to say. It's quite possible that the media may want to interview you after you have delivered an important speech. Take these interviews with the press or television reporters seriously. To make a good impression in an interview, you must prepare as carefully as you did when writing your speech.

Unless you're a celebrity, your personality is likely to have little to do with the media's interest. They're after a news story, and if you want to satisfy them and give a good impression, you have to give them that story. Because they are going to write or create a story no matter what you say, you should make it one you want told. And that's where the preparation comes in.


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