Not a sentence I thought I'd be typing. If you're looking for an example of a PR disaster, look no further than Toronto's mayor. From homophobic slurs and crack use, threats and drunken stupors, Rob Ford has garnered worldwide attention. Political beliefs aside, Rob Ford finally got it right during his Jimmy Kimmel interview. What more could a PR girl ask for?
1) Develop Key Talking Points
When you're preparing for any interview, understand your goals. What message do you want to get across? Develop a few key talking points and stick to them. They will be your guide throughout the whole interview.
Rob Ford's talking points were clear: he saved the tax payers money, Toronto is booming, he works hard, and he's running for mayor next term.
2) Blocking and Bridging
Journalists and reporters can ask you anything they want during an interview. In the same notion, you can respond any way you want. Keep control and composure - you don't have to answer every question. Instead, block an unwanted question and bridge it back to friendly territory.
When Kimmel reads out harsh criticisms, Ford makes a joke before bringing the conversation back to where he wants it. "Is that all they said?" he asks, "I guess they don't talk about the money I've saved them, that I've cleaned up the city."
When Kimmel brings up his many blunders and apologies, Ford, once again, blocks and bridges the conversation back to his talking points.
3) Speak in Positives
Journalists and reporters can take quotes out of context. Don't give them that opportunity. Only speak in positives when answering questions.
For the most part, Ford leaves sarcasm out of his answers, talking about the great, beautiful, booming city of Toronto.
4) Facts Facts Facts
Using facts goes back to the goal of the interview. Here, Ford gives numbers when he says he has saved the city money. He also gives third party endorsers who can support his messages.
5) Speak in Headlines
Don't say anything you wouldn't want in the newspaper. When responding to questions, think of potential quotes and headlines.
"I'm a businessman Jimmy. I run it like a business"
"People will judge me on my proven track record"
"Call Rob Ford and I guarantee I'll return your call"
All good, quotable answers.
Answer every question then add one of your messages. Repeating your talking points increases the chance that the journalist or reporter will pick it up. Every question Ford answered, he reminded the audience about one of his key messages.
7) Absent Party Ploy
FleishmanHillard talks about the absent party ploy. Here, a reporter will try to create controversy by getting you to negatively comment on another party. The most important lesson is not to question their character. Ford tried hard to do this, though he did slip up when discussing "political games". He saved himself by bringing the conversation back to tax payer's money.
A Boston girl via Toronto. University of Toronto, Sheridan College, and Boston University alumna. Passionate about ending domestic violence. Hoping to never go a day without carbs or chocolate.