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Media Training: Surviving a tough press conference

Today, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) addressed the media about its role in the Bali Nine arrests. Although press conferences are becoming less common, there are certain occasions when they are necessary.  Times when your organisation truly has news to present, to rebut or to explain. In the case of the AFP, the Commissioner Andrew Colvin held the conference to defend its role and address incorrect statements made of police officers involved in the case.
If the subject is controversial, like accusations the AFP has endured over the ten-year period of the Bali Nine arrests, make sure you have your team of experts on-hand. Each spokesperson should be on the same page.  They should be unified in their responses.  Specific questions and answers should be prepared well in advance and if possible, role play before the event, so everyone feels confident and ready. Be sure to watch your interview back and be aware of any facial expressions or body language that could be misinterpreted.
If the pressure of holding a press conference is too much and you want to bypass traditional media completely, get your news out via social media. If your news is truly newsworthy, journalists will pick up on it. Or, you can offer an exclusive to one outlet, which almost always guarantees coverage however, you might put off other media by not giving them the option of covering your news.

Media manners

When Charlotte, from this year’s reality show The Block, appeared on The Today Show this morning, I don’t think she was expecting the headline to be about swearing on live Television.

Increasingly we are seeing a lot more tolerance from the Producers of reality shows regarding swearing.
Even if you’re a habitual “swearer” the choice of language you use, especially on G rated television, can impact your credibility. Would you hire someone if they swore in an job interview? Same goes for television.
So how do you avoid the gaff of swearing? Practice your key messages, focus on why you’re doing the interview and lastly, avoid getting too conversational and falling into the trap of lazy communication by throwing in a swear word. Your interview will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, as Charlotte now knows!