An executive speech is always an important moment, and requires careful preparation. The agency is an essential partner in this preparation.
First and foremost, you need to get to know the journalist and his or her media outlet: background, previous subjects, expectations, needs, knowledge of the subject, the outlet’s editorial line, editorial constraints…. Gathering the big questions beforehand is important, but some journalists refuse to do so, which is perfectly within their rights.
Preparing the spokesperson includes defining key messages around the theme being addressed, assessing potential ramifications. These messages are taken from the House of Messages (or message grid, depending on the school), which groups together all the company’s communication topics. Communicating means making choices, and sometimes giving up. You can’t say everything.
It’s important to anticipate all the questions that are likely to be asked, and especially those that the spokesperson doesn’t want to be asked, and to answer them in writing. This is the famous Q&A.
Some general advice for journalists: oral information is perishable and degradable. Communicating means fighting against the degradation of information. It’s best to be concise and to the point, to prepare anecdotes and examples, to remain true to yourself and your personality, and above all to take sides and assert your position.
To take interview preparation a step further, the agency can offer media tranning, depending on the spokesperson’s ease and maturity in expressing themselves in the media.