Friday, April 30, 2004

Media Training Tips for Lawyers

In today’s legal arena it is necessary for lawyers to have media relations training if you plan to talk to reporters. If you know how to effectively communicate with the media you can generate a great deal of publicity for yourself and your law firm. The following are some useful tips that lawyers should remember when dealing with the media:

• Formulate three key messages prior to speaking to the media. Determine the most important points that you want to get across to the media and write them down. This will help you prepare your thoughts so that the interview is a success.

• When being interviewed, once you have made your point do not be intimidated by silence. Silence is not a bad thing during an interview, it’s a tactic used by reporters to get you to talk, in the hopes of getting you to say something that you shouldn’t have.

• When speaking to the media be concise and thorough and tell them everything that you can. You do not want them finding out information on their own and then confronting you when you are not prepared to answer their questions.

• Do not panic if you are asked a question during an interview that you do not know the answer to. Be honest and tell them that you do not know the answer but that you would be happy to look into it and get back to them. Never attempt to make something up.

Never say “NO COMMENT” to the media. When a lawyer says this it is perceived by the public as though you are hiding something or not telling the truth. If something is confidential then tell them that, but do not say “NO COMMENT”.

• There is no such thing as “OFF THE RECORD” when speaking to the media. If you say it then there’s always a chance that it will end up in print, or broadcast. If you don’t want it repeated, then just don’t say it.

• When you talk to the media use the reporter’s first name, try to relate to him or her. The more you get to know the reporters and become a resource and the more they get to know you, the more likely they are to give you good coverage.

Research reporters before interviews so that you know what type of reporters they are and their style. This will help you anticipate what types of questions they may ask and better prepare you to answer their questions.

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