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These articles are designed to help expand your understanding of how to be effective as a spokesperson, particularly in managing exchanges with reporters to win-win outcomes.

Some of the articles are aimed at public relations practitioners, and they have been included to help expand your knowledge of best practices in media relations.  Also, some are linked to specific YouTube videos.  To get the full benefit of these links, you need  access to the Internet and  YouTube. 

You can either choose subject areas to supplement your reading from the table below (click on the subject heading  to be taken to a list of articles in that category — i.e. body language), or you can continue to scroll down on this page to pick from the list of individual articles.   

Please feel free to print any of these articles for your personal use if you feel they will help you be more effective as a spokesperson for your organization.  

                                  
HeadlineArticle Description
Body LanguageThese articles are designed to supplement the "Body Language" module in the online program. 
Answering Questions EffectivelyThe following articles each provide a perspective on the skill of answering questions.
Win-Win Outcomes vs Stay on MessageThese articles are designed to demonstrate that win-win outcomes are the best possible strategy to pursue when dealing with reporters.
Building Effective Relationships With JournalistsThe articles below are designed to provide insights into ways in which you can build effective relationships with journalists.




Body Language: Natural Gestures Work Best
A few years ago, I conducted media training for an organization that was potentially facing a strike. I was asked to provide one day of training for management-level employees who would manage strike sites as representatives of the organization. Prior to the start of my portion of the agenda, the company’s director of human resources spent about 45 minutes talking to the group about the logistics of managing the strike.

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Body Language: Gestures Are Essential
When seeking body language advice for presentations and television interviews (or sales calls and job interviews, for that matter), the best place to begin is with the work of psycholinguists.

Wikipedia tells us that psycholinguists study "the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and understand language." It has been a recognized field

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Body Language: The Mehrabian Myth
When it comes to the use of body language in presentations and broadcast interviews, most of us have seen some sort of statistic that indicates:
  • 55% of the overall message is how the person looks when delivering the message.
  • 38% of the overall message is how the person sounds when delivering the message.
  • 7% of the overall message can be attributed to the words the person uses.
If you tak
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Habits of Highly Effective Corporate Spokespeople
One of the most important habits a highly effective spokesperson can exhibit is honesty, says Sheila Consaul, director of media relations for United Way of America, who spoke at Bulldog Reporter’s Media Relations Summit in Washington, D.C., in June 2007.

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Keeping Your Marbles While Answering Questions
I recently had the good fortune of providing media training to a group of senior administrators at a major Canadian university. As I was setting up for the full day of training, I overheard one of the participants telling a story about going through a job interview in which she had carefully prepared her key messages.

She admitted that she didn't have much of a chance of

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Please ... No 30-Minute Answers
About a year ago, I was delivering a presentation to a conference of industry professionals at Blue Mountain Resort on the topic of Presenting With Ease, when the conversation turned to one of my favorite concepts: the question-and-answer process.

Those who know me will tell you that one of my favorite
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P-A-S: The Most Important Step
After more than 12 years of examining the concept, and after teaching it successfully for more than 10 years, I am completely convinced that the most important thing we can teach presenters and spokespeople alike is to pause, answer the question and stop talking.

First of all, it offers protection. If you've ever given evidence at a trial or examination for discovery — and you were coached by a lawyer prior to giving t
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The Illogical Logic of Not Answering Questions
I was sitting in a client's office a while ago, waiting for him to finish a short meeting with a staff member. While waiting, I was flipping through a recent edition of Canada's Marketing magazine when I came across an article entitled: "Talking the right talk. Media training helps your brand be the focus in an interview."

Reporter Eve Lazarus described how she had sat through a media training session arranged f
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The Origin of "Stay on Message"
Staying on message has become part of how politicians operate since being institutionalized by US president Ronald Reagan’s deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver in the 1980s.  When Ronald Reagan reached the White House, Deaver had access to research that demonstrated the vast majority of Americans received their political information through the news broadcasts of three television networks — ABC, CBS and N
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Effective Media Training Means a Balanced Approach
At its core, media relations is a relatively simple game.  On one side, reporters ask questions. It's what they do for a living.

On the other side are spokespeople.  Logically, if reporters ask questions and the goal is to create win-win outcomes in communication excellence, shouldn't spokespeople answer the majority of those questions — clearly, concisely and effectively? 

As communicators and p
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The Fallacy of Staying on Message
This lengthy academic (and footnoted) article examines the public relations tactic of staying on message.  It reviews the tactic’s prevalence, and holds the tactic up against codes of ethics, conduct and professional standards in the public relations and organizational communications worldwide.  It compares the tactic to potential best pr
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Responding to Reporters
There is no question that it can be difficult to work with reporters, especially when they contact you with requests for information that seem to be driven by unreasonable deadlines.  But there are a number of reasons why you should try to help reporters by providing the information they're seeking in a timely manner. 

First, it's important to understand the world of journalists, which is driven by extremely
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Body Language
Mr. Media Training Icon
There are a number of articles in the body language series, which are designed to supplement the "Body Language" module in the online program:






Read more ...
 
Answering Questions Effectively
Mr. Media Training Icon
The following articles each provide a perspective on the skill of answering questions. Like all aspects of this program, the insights here can be applied to all aspects of your personal and professional life, not just when you're answering quest
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Win-Win Outcomes vs Stay on Message
Mr. Media Training IconThese articles are designed to demonstrate that win-win outcomes are the best possible strategy to pursue when dealing with reporters. Staying on message is an essential defensive strategy. However, as was discussed during the "Defensive Strategies"
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Boy-O Gets A Passing Grade
I have an interesting opportunity in front of me.  I get to grade the media performance of one of my children. 

As a parent, I live for moments like this.

Our son Andrew plays for the University of Western Ontario baseball team.  He is a pitcher, and he pitched a heckuva game over (Canada's) Thanksgiving weekend.After the game, he was interviewed by a journalist and Read more ...
 
An Excellence Example of Balance
I received an e-mail last week from my former roommate (he moved from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to London, England the same week that I moved to Toronto in March 1987).   

The subject line of the e-mail asks:  "Is this a good example of staying on message?"  The e-mail contained a link to a BBC radio interview, and my former roommate said:  "I though my CEO did it well but I wondered what
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How It Should Be Done
I've had the privilege of spending this year's holiday season in Florida (my in-laws have a condo near Tampa Bay and, fortunately, they like me). 

On December 27, an article appeared in the St. Petersburg Times entitled Gators' Meyer Steps Down.  Basic
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The Polarization Model at Work
The video clip below demonstrates how someone can use open hostility to change the opinions of others in their favor.

At Ease With the Media teaches a polarization model for handling hostility that can arise during media interviews and public meetings.  The goal is to help you understand how to use someone else's hostility to you advantage.   Normally, the model is
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Building Effective Relationships With Journalists
Mr. Media Training IconThe articles below are designed to provide insights into ways in which you can build effective relationships with journalists. 

Most importantly, you want to respond to journalists in a timely fashion.  Respond to their requests fo
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More Mehrabian Myth
I received an e-mail from Martin Shovel at Creativity Works recently with a link to the YouTube video I've posted below.  It's an interesting animated take on the Mehrabian Myth, which is something I've written here about a number of times, and something I almost always discuss during my presentation skills and media training workshops.

As I
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It's Not Every Day You Get a Free Shot at a Politician!
 
 
 

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