Monday, June 12, 2006

Who’s to Blame for Media Misquotes … You or Them?

When coaching clients on how to work with media, I start by asking for each participant’s greatest fear. Inevitably, the majority say being misquoted.

Of course, most of the blame for being misquoted is placed squarely on the shoulders of the reporter. Rarely, if ever, do we look inward for the source of disconnects between what we say and what the reporter captures and writes into a story. But most of us should.

More than likely our responses to reporter questions are too long, too convoluted and too sprawling in scope. This allows the reporter to determine what information is important, why it is important and how it should be used.

To combat this crap-shoot outcome, we must accept our role in the process and make time to prepare for the interview. Preparation allows us to anticipate questions and formulate answers using key messages designed to advance our point of view.

Once we anticipate and answer the questions, we are in a much better position to coach the reporter on the context surrounding the information we impart during an interview.

Follow this tip and your “quotability quotient” should improve exponentially.

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