Meet the Press
For many AEC professionals, talking to journalists is an uneasy experience. That’s understandable—it’s an opportunity to get your message in front of a wide audience, and you don’t want to fumble it. Our experience in media and presentation training can help you and your team handle interviews with editors and reporters with confidence. Here are some fundamentals:
Be prepared. Take a few moments and think about what messages you want to convey. It helps to write down your top three talking points on the subject. You can refer back to these during your conversation with the reporter. Think through all the questions a journalist might ask about a project and how you will answer. If there’s any controversial aspect to a topic or project, plan on being asked about it and be prepared with an answer.
Stay calm. Remember, reporters are seeking information for their readers or viewers. In most cases, they are not out to “get you” or trick you into saying something controversial or that you’ll regret.
Watch your words. Keep in mind that nothing you say is “off the record.” This is a term people use freely but it actually is not legally binding and reporters can, by law, use anything you say to them, even if you think you’re just casually chatting and not being interviewed.
Be professional. Don’t say anything negative about another person or a competitor.
Tell the truth and don’t speculate. If you’re unsure of the answer to a question, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know. Let me find the answer for you and follow up.” [Be sure to do so!]. It’s also fine to reply, “I can’t answer that question because my client is not ready to release that information” if the situation warrants it. One response you never want to make is “No comment.” It immediately—and rightly—raises a reporter’s suspicion.