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A media interview looks like a normal conversation, but it’s really a carefully proscribed Kabuki dance. Every participant fills a well-defined role.
A spokesperson’s role requires discipline, charm, and tenacity. The spokesperson has a message to deliver, no matter what the reporter asks. She jumps over third rail questions to get back to a story that’s compelling for the reporter and useful for her organization. To the spokesperson, an interview may feel like a deposition, even if she’s laughing and telling stories like she’s at a cocktail party.
The reporter’s role requires ingenuity and acute perception. Her job is to see the bigger picture, find a unique angle, to ask the questions that validate the story she’s being told, to hunt for more depth, to discern if she’s being bamboozled.
The PR person’s role is to ensure that the dance follows the agreed-upon steps. She ensures that both the reporter and the spokesperson achieve what they want – a great story – without slipping into danger zones.
The spokesperson, reporter and PR person know they are each dancing steps that thousands have danced before. You deliver an artful interview when you embrace this truth and make the dance your own.
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