Speaking to the media: 7 tips for executives

September 21, 2015
Meghan McGrath
Meghan McGrath

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Scott Weighart
Scott Weighart

Here are seven tips healthcare leaders must keep in mind when speaking to the press.

 

 

If a crisis occurs at your company, the media is going to want to hear directly from its leaders. Here are seven tips healthcare leaders should keep in mind when speaking to the press. 

 

 

 

What crises are most likely to arise in the coming year?

Periodically, have your leaders meet to discuss how to mitigate risks and what the process will be for handling a crisis if it comes up.

 

 

 

If at all possible, make sure that you break the news before someone else does.

Don't put off a press conference, press release, or press briefing. Waiting will result on playing defense and having to change negative perceptions.

 

 

 

Focus on restraint, composure, and assertiveness.

Although you will need to act quickly, you will need to be deliberate in your response. Discuss options as a team, and focus on debating solutions rather than acting impulsively, defensively, or emotionally. Help others generate light, not heat.

 

 

 

You never want to say, “No comment.”

After reaching agreement with your team on a course of action, make yourself available to the media. Prepare by identifying what their toughest questions might be along with bullet-points answers to give yourself talking points.

 

 

 

Be careful of putting too much “spin” on bad news or by withholding information that is likely to come out eventually.

Acknowledge what happened and why, expressing empathy or concern as the case may be.

 

 

 

Use “you” language when addressing issues that affect your customers or anyone else affected by the crisis.

This is your opportunity to initiate real dialogue with your audiences during a moment of truth. Handled well, you way actually bolster the company’s reputation.

 

 

 

If the organization made a mistake, it’s best to own that rather than blaming the victims or dwelling more on forces outside of your control.

People appreciate accountability in an organization, and doing otherwise can add insult to injury.