The Negotiator Magazine

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And, finally...

The more practice you gain in speaking to the media, the more adept you will become at anticipating questions and even suggesting, through your response, a lead for the next question the reporter may forget to ask.

Reporters are always on deadline - always return phone calls, address them courteously, and if you can't meet with them when they contact you, ask when their deadline is and contact them allowing them sufficient time to integrate your comments.

Media outlets covet the "scoop" and appreciate loyalty. If you find a reporter/editor team who consistently respects your needs relative to their own and communicates a truly objective story, you may wish to preserve that relationship by honoring their needs as your primary source.

Credibility

Stay on the high ground. Be alert to comments made by your adversaries which should be countered, or can benefit you by being framed within your own context. Immediately counter adversarial comments which seem to suggest you are whining, lying, misinformed, simply stupid or greedy. Counter as quickly, comments which falsely imply your adversary is innocent, making every reasonable effort to correct the situation, and are simply interested in being "good neighbors" within the community. Be prepared to counter these statements and innuendos by framing them within your own context and illuminating your adversary as one who is simply spinning the truth in an effort to contain damage to their public image. If they spin - spin it right back - but always with truth.

Although you want to stay on the high ground in the public's eye, don't worry if you slip and say something colorful or which might be misconstrued. Do your best and remember, tomorrow's another day.


Lisa Bracken is a business communications specialist and owner of Accelerated Innovative Marketing Solutions. She is a real estate broker and paralegal (non-attorney) with specialized negotiation experience in toxic environmental issues and the corporate oil and gas industry. The information contained in this article by Lisa Bracken should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. Please seek the advice of qualified counsel to address your specific situation and concerns.

Lisa Bracken is available as lecturer, neutral or spokesperson and may be reached through her web site at http://www.aimsatyourservice.com

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February 2006