Jul 23, 2009

Presenting to the Media: 3 Important Lessons

Press Conferences are one place where presentations have a big role to play. Large companies regularly go in front of the media (press and TV) so that they get free PR (publicity). They organize Press Conferences in the best of hotels in town. Press Conferences are also a time when the top management gets exposed to the media and that makes it a high risk situation. You know how 'bad press' can affect a company. That's why all large organizations have PR agencies to help them 'handle' media well.

PR agencies also help prepare the 'Press Kit' which is given to media persons. The kit includes a Press Brief (a printed document containing all information you want to share), Gifts, a copy of the PowerPoint presentation

Preparing a presentation for the media is slightly different from a normal presentation. First, you need to be very careful with facts and figures. Second, the presentation has to be very short and simple.

Extra careful with Facts & Figures
Data mismatch (or any other gaps) in the presentation is going to be noticed very easily by the media. The outcome: your management will be asked to explain that in the Q&A session. So ensure the future growth plan figures, the size of the next project being commissioned, etc are right at every place they come in the presentation. Different pieces of data across the presentation when related to each other should look in tandem and not as if they come from two different companies. Do a thorough check before you go for printing the press release. DO NOT prepare the press brief at the last minute, then you are bound to make these mistakes.

Short & Simple
No audience wants to be bored with a long presentation. This is especially true of media. Everyone hates a presentation which goes round and round. A presentation which talks about the obvious or about unnecessary things. Information which is readily available as a print out (in the Press Kit) need not be detailed in the presentation.

Whatever you want to share with the media is already in the press brief. So why are you making the presentation? For example, your company is launching a new brand. The press brief (the print out) is with each member of the media. They can read that and write an article on your launch. Then why present?

You present to generate interest in the product launch. You present to make them understand clearly whats written in the brief. You will get more footage (and hence more free publicity) if the media likes your story. In order for them to like it, you need to present it in a way they understand and get attracted.

Do remember these three lessons:

1. Check your facts before you present
2. Keep it short and simple
3. Make your story interesting

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