Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 9
       

Control Yourself!

In PR, image is everything. Whether a grassroots event, a story pitch, an interview, or a public appearance, how you handle yourself can make or break an entire campaign. A prime example: the recent media flap involving Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams following his team's loss in the national championship game.

Roy Williams is a well-spoken, highly regarded coach with a great deal of influence on his players and colleagues. Still shell-shocked immediately after losing one of the most important games of his life, he was asked about coaching at another school. His reply was polite but he made it obvious that he resented the question - especially the timing of it.

The question was repeated in another form, and he went ballistic, losing control of his emotions and uttering an epithet on national television. His abilities and reputation quickly came under fire.

When dealing with the media and public, it's imperative to steel oneself for any and all questions and allusions. Understanding a journalist's prime function (see related article below) can help keep the focus on your agenda - not the media's.

Remember this common technique that has saved many a gaffe: before responding to a tricky question, rephrase the question in terms you understand and repeat it back to the questioner. This not only clarifies the intent of the question for you, but provides time to craft an appropriate answer and not answer in haste.