Handling the Media

by Jennifer Stenhouse

Into the lion’s den – what do you want?

Why would you even want to go there? Well, it is one of the cheapest ways of getting whatever it is you want to say across to the greatest number of people.

Here are some powerful reasons in favour of dealing with the media:

  • Look on it as free advertising
  • Think of how your credibility could grow
  • You can put the record straight on something
  • You may want to become known as a pundit in your field.

Setting intent

First of all, know what you want to achieve. Be proactive and set your objectives right from the start. What is your intention? Be very clear about this. Take time to write this down if it helps you clarify the outcome you want.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King

By actually expressing your intentions, you focus your mind and energy in that direction. Make sure your intent is positive. Channel your energies in this way and you will find it easier to get what you want.

For instance, you might say to yourself ahead of talking to a journalist: ‘My intention for this interview is to communicate my message clearly and to be heard.’

Or you might set an intent for a media campaign: ‘My intention for this campaign is to explain our values and gain more support.’

Your intention can be more specific. Take care over language – make sure you’re setting your intention for what you want as opposed to what you don’t want! If you’re focusing on what you don’t want, the chances are that’s what you’ll get.

What are your outcomes?

  • Aiming to increase awareness? If so, what is it that you could say that would best put your point across? Are there stories to back up your point? Metaphors?
  • Working towards a tangible and positive outcome? Be clear about that outcome. Project yourself into the future and learn exactly how that would be – what would you see, hear or feel in order to know you’d achieved it? Then ask: ‘How will that outcome be achieved best?’
  • Lobbying a specific group? How are they going to receive your message? How could you best package what you have to say to make sure this particular group will understand?
  • Updating information? Is the new information correct? What will the consequences be once people hear the new information? Do you need to prepare a how to react to their response?
  • Flagging up a diary event? Make sure all the information needed is there and that you can answer the questions Who, What, Why, Where and When.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer