My attending the public release of data last week comparing perceptions of today’s college students by the public and by Beltway insiders brought home to me a larger point – how different and challenging it is to execute on PR support for a client that is successful in meeting goals both inside and outside the Beltway. In some ways, it’s almost like trying to do PR in two separate countries.
There once was a time, before the summer of 2015 when a certain man came down an escalator in Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for President of the United States, that PR firms such as ours could pitch cable TV news bookers with a reasonable chance at success.
In Part I of this series, "Setting the Trap," we looked at a real example of a company that fell for the interview trap, not once, but twice! What fundamental error did the CEO make? She agreed to do taped interviews. By providing 20 or 30 minutes of dialogue for the producers to slice and dice according their agendas, she just gave them more rope to hang her. As a long-time veteran of national TV news revealed, “If we are going to go to the trouble and expense of taping and editing an interview to fit into a news story, it’s because we’ve already determined what the story is going to be and we’re just looking for quotes – or pieces of quotes – to support it.”
Your organization is in full crisis management mode. Armed with legal counsel and a communications strategy, it's time for your CEO to speak to the media. During a taped TV news interview, she hits all the right notes - staying on message, bridging to key points and projecting a calm, but concerned, demeanor. You and your staff rejoice - crisis controlled!
In any public or interpersonal interaction, first impressions are lasting impressions. But looking presentable becomes even more important when you are representing your company or organization before millions of viewers on TV. So, even though you may have deep knowledge of the subject and a powerful message to share, the very first thing that will catch your viewers’ attention will be your appearance.
Fortunately, if you can remember this one overriding principle, your on-air attire angst is sure to diminish: it’s far more important that the audience remembers what you said, not what you wore.