Tips for Boards When Dealing With the Media


In previous posts I have discussed how invaluable it can be to have a Board – in my case an Advisory Board – to assist the overall direction of the business.
My Board members are supportive and helpful, but I got to thinking perhaps this is not always the case.  This is particularly tricky in a high-profile organisation where there is a great deal of media interest in the company’s activities, and you and your Board members are the subject of media interest and scrutiny.

While there is no question that media training for Board members is very important (I would say it is critical, actually!) but in the meantime,  I came across an article by Tony Featherstone (former editor of BRW and Shares magazine) that touches on many of the key points concerning how Board members should interact with the media.

You can read the entire article in full at the Australian Company Directors website www.companydirectors.com.au but I wanted to just extract a few key points for you.

Rule #1:  Speak with One voice – Tony advises for Board members to never break the confidence of the boardroom.
Rule #2: Never break Rule #1

Media management is tricky, as the journalist rarely is interested in your carefully prepared talking points or key messages. They will ask questions looking for something topical, controversial, trying to niggle to find out if there are tensions or divisions within the Board on one issue or another, not to cause trouble, but to generate a story.

The problem is, the story they want to write will not be the one you want them to write as no-one wants to read about differences of opinion, power struggles or conflicts or the leak of confidential information.  Or about that big new project that you are not ready to announce quite yet.

I strongly recommend that if you are a Board Member, or are thinking of appointing one, it is well worthwhile reading Tony’s article in full.  Let me stress here that while hiring a firm like Publicity Queen to handle your media can be a good strategic decision, you don’t necessarily need to outsource this function: if you are smart and careful, and if you observe the rules mentioned above concerning confidentiality and discretion, you can do this yourself.

If however, you would like to avoid the stress and pressure of handling media enquiries, give me a call, we are always happy to help! 🙂

Publicity QueenYours in PR,

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