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When being interviewed by media, it is tempting to do a `brain dump,' and give them as much information as you can.
This can backfire, though.
Faced with an information overload, the journalist has to pick-and-choose through all the data to construct her story.
She probably has room only for a few of your points, and she may not choose the ones that you would like.
Politicians understand this.
When they do interviews, they focus on `talking points.
' The politician prepares by selecting three or four points they want to get across during the interview.
The preparation allows them to get their message across clearly and succinctly.
You should do something similar to this to prepare for your encounters with the media.
In 'Media Training 101,' (published by John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0471271551) Sally Stewart recommends that you have five focused and concise Key Message Points.
Key Message Point #1 is a general statement about your company.
It might include facts such as how long you have been in business, what you sell, or where you are located.
Key Message Point #2 gives financial information.
For example, revenues, growth percentage or number of units sold.
Don't overload on statistics.
Choose something easy to understand.
Key Message Point #3 identifies your target market.
What characteristics do your customers share? Are they consumers or businesses? Are they in a specific industry? Are they located in the same geographic area? What need do they have that your product or service fills? You might also mention your share of the market, if it is impressive.
Key Message Point #4 addresses the company's future growth.
Are you expanding into foreign markets, creating new products (or identifying new uses for existing products) to appeal to new types of customers, opening a new location or adding more employees? Key Message Point #5 can be anything not covered in the other four points.
It is a way to point out the uniqueness of your company.
You might mention awards or other recognition your company has received, the specialized training or experience of your staff, or whatever you would want customers and the public to know about your business and what makes it special.
Once you have your Key Message Points, you are prepared for an interview at any time.
This is important, because you won't always have a lot of advance notice of an interview.
In some cases, you will have only minutes (if that) to prepare.
With your Key Message Points you will know what to say-and when to stop talking.
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