Holding a news conference can be a useful and efficient way of imparting essential information to the media in the middle of a crisis. It can also carry a great deal of reputational risk. There are few experiences in life that are more daunting than having the massed ranks of her majesty’s press ganging up on you.
It is always going to be more challenging to face a horde of journalists and camera operators than to speak to individual reporters one at a time. At a press conference no news organisation can expect a scoop but nonetheless each reporter will want to be seen throwing a probing question. In fact it’s often a moment when journalists feel the need to show off to each other (and to their editors who may be watching the event live in the newsroom). And when the reporters are all vying with each other to pose the sharpest question, the interviewee needs to be thoroughly prepared.
As our clients will vouch, the main focus of all our media training is on messaging. We will help you to work out what exactly you want to say and how you should say it. We will also help you define the things you cannot talk about and show you how to avoid being forced into a corner on areas you are unable to discuss.
More importantly, we will advise you whether it is wise to hold a press conference at all and help you decide when you should choose to do individual interviews instead. We’ll talk you through the advantages of the ‘pool’ interview at a time of crisis. This allows you to talk to one press reporter and one broadcaster who is obliged to share their interview with their competitors.
I found the day extremely helpful. It made me realise how important proper preparation is and how easy it is to get thrown by difficult questions. I know I need a lot more practice and experience, but am sure that you have given me the tools I need.
Senior church leader