With a new administration about to take leadership in US government and a recession on full force, we’re seeing a LOT of press conferences lately on the news.
And I must admit, I hate press conferences. It seems everyone wants to do them, but the reality is they are BORING and not really newsworthy most of the time.
But if you must have a press conference, here are my top tips to hold a very good one:
- Make sure you have something significant to announce. Upgrading your widget, or adding more variety isn’t enough. It has to be newsworthy – and worthy enough of attracting the media to your event.
- Location, locations, location! Usually people think of location last – and often thing of a conference room or somewhere with a podium to make the announcement. Be a bit more creative. Remember part of a press conference is the visuals, so make sure you have more than a podium and some talking heads. One of the best press conferences I covered was one announcing a contract for people with disability to work Red Cross gift boxes for the military overseas during the first Gulf War. The conference was held right at the place where the kits were being assembled and people were working.
- Make it a date that works. Check the Associated Press Daybook for your area and other calendars to make sure your conference doesn’t conflict with other major announcements.
- NOT everyone has to talk or stand around looking at the spokespeople. How many press conferences have you seen where everyone got to speak or there were 20 people standing around the main spokesperson. Stop with the vanity already. Get these people in chairs with the reporters. (Bonus tip: Seat some of the better spokespeople who won’t be talking next to reporters to help answer any questions they have!)