Their Words, Not Yours

Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of letting a newspaper or magazine interviewer frame the debate by putting words in your mouth – the reporter’s phrase may find its way into the article, even if you would never have made the point like that yourself. Instead, always use your own choice of words if you feel they are more appropriate. For example, journalists will frequently use a pejorative word or phrase in their question, which you will then probably try to refute. However, in the process you may find you have neatly given the reporter a very negative or defensive quote, such as: “With this sharp rise in prices at a time of increased profits, aren’t you overcharging your customers?” “Well I wouldn’t say we’re overcharging, but ….” Then, the story is all about your company “denying accusations of overcharging”. As we point out in our media training courses, it’s better to put things in your own words, such as “we believe the price increase is justified, because…”.