As I’ve already discussed on this blog, many press conferences are unwarranted. The truth is that many of you reading this right now have never hosted a press conference before. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Press conferences are not the backbone of public relations, and in most cases, there are far more effective and efficient means of communicating with the media and getting your message out.
However, there are still those situations that are ideal for holding a press conference. And in the event that you find yourself needing to hold a press conference, you don’t want your inexperience to come back to bite you in the backside. That’s why I’ve come up with some helpful tips that will guide you to a successful press conference.
Make sure a press conference is warranted — I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but seriously, make sure that you actually need to hold a press conference. If a simple press release will do, don’t waste everyone’s time by holding a press conference. But if the media won’t stop calling or you have a situation that is well suited to the question and answer format, then by all means hold a press conference.
Find the right time and date — Scheduling is important. You don’t want your press conference going head-to-head with a bigger press conference or event. You also don’t want to hold it too late in the day when reporters are facing tight deadlines. Choose a date and time that’s convenient for the media and that won’t have you competing for attention, and let the invited press know as early as possible.
Choose the right location — Make sure your press conference is held in a place near all the major media outlets in your area. You don’t want reporters having to fight their way across town just to get to you. You also want to make sure the venue is spacious enough to accommodate the attendees and is properly setup to handle any technology you’ll be incorporating (audio-visual stuff).
Don’t play favorites with reporters — Let’s face it — some reporters have more influence than others, but that doesn’t mean you should play favorites. Treat all media members the same. They can all contribute to your success.
Practice makes perfect — You DO NOT want to go into your press conference unprepared. Not only do you have to make sure you know your message forwards and backwards, but you also want to be sure the microphones are working, the audio-visual equipment is connected correctly, etc. Prepare properly so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Get to the point — I’ve said it a million times: reporters are busy. Don’t waste their time by starting late or speaking longer than you need to. Start and finish on time, and get to the point as quickly as possible so that if a reporter needs to leave early, they will at least have some good quotes and info to take with them.
What are your best tips for holding a successful press conference? Share them by commenting below.