A couple of recent events have struck a chord with me and reminded me of some key public relations (PR) best practices.
Ryne Sandberg, the Hall of Famer and current manager of the Philadelphia Phillies on a recent radio show shared that he used to eat cat food a lot as a kid. Sandberg said:
“I did that as a youngster, maybe 4 or 5 years old, maybe 6 years old. I don’t know. I guess I was hungry. I still remember the crunchiness of it was the biggest thing. This wasn’t a one-time thing either. This went on for about a year as a little snack.”
Not only did he say that he used to eat cat food, but he emphasized that it wasn’t a one-time thing and that it went on for several years.
In the second event, the White House accidentally revealed the name of the CIA’s top intelligence official in Afghanistan to some 6,000 journalists. The CIA is about secrecy and this error could cause serious security issues for this individual.
One of the things I advise my clients is that you’re always on the record and anything you share or say can and more than likely will be used. Listed below are five tips that will help you maximize an interview opportunity and avoid sharing information that could potentially be embarrassing or damaging.
- If you don’t want somebody to know something, don’t tell them. Just because you know or have certain information doesn’t mean you have to tell people. Everybody doesn’t need to know every detail of your life or your business.
- Be careful who you tell things to. With social media anybody can really be a reporter. If somebody overhears you talking and sharing sensitive or private information in a hotel, restaurant or airport they don’t need to ask your permission to share it on Twitter or Facebook. Additionally, a reporter isn’t required or may not always introduce themselves as a member of the media and if they hear you say something they can use it for their own purposes.
- Be prepared in an interview situation. If a topic you don’t want to talk about or isn’t relevant to the topic don’t be afraid to tell the reporter you’re not going to answer or respond to that line of questioning. Hopefully you’ll have your PR team with you and they can and should step in and do that on your behalf.
- Consider the effects your comments could have on others. In the case of the White House, the effects of disclosing the CIA agents name could result in serious security risks and could require him to be removed from his current position. In another example, a recent article shared information about a woman and her entrance into the United States. The way she entered actually broke federal laws that if the United States Government wanted to, or found out about, could cause this individual serious issues.
- If your mom would be embarrassed by what you say, then don’t say it. A good friend of mine taught me this principle. If your mom would be offended or embarrassed by what you say or do, then don’t say or do it.
Being interviewed by the media is fun and highly advantageous for your career and your business. However, a poorly conducted interview that doesn’t help you accomplish your goals can be equally devastating.