Brainfood: Business Manners - Handling the Media

Buy some time. Don't answer questions on the spot. Find out what the journalist wants, then get back to them. Preparation will make you a more eloquent subject, and you'll be less likely to emit a Prince Philip-ism.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Take control. You don't have to answer every question. Don't get steamrollered into saying things you're unsure of, but avoid saying 'no comment' - this will make you sound like a crook, even if the interview is about your promotion.

Less is more. Limit yourself to three key points, and make sure you get them across clearly. Cram too much in and you'll lose people's attention.

Stay professional. Be polite and amiable, but beware of treating your interviewer like a mate - you may drop your guard. Saying it off the record won't stop a sensational revelation appearing in print. If you don't want people to read about your boss' love of train-spotting, don't mention it.

Smarten up. If photography or TV cameras are involved, you won't help your cause by having your bed-head thrust into the public consciousness.

Be helpful. Journalists need your expertise, so supply them with interesting facts and figures that reflect your knowledge - it can only improve your chances of a good write-up.

Get trained up. If you deal with the media or appear on TV often, you'll come a cropper if you try to wing it. Take a media training course.

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