Tough questions and difficult circumstances can try anyone's patience, especially if you have to face the media in the middle of a crisis.
That's why staying cool under pressure is so important. Easy? Not at all. But essential.
The public, your customers, your employees -- they all want to see you succeed. They want to see you're in control. They want to know that you're handling the crisis.
They want to know that everything will be okay.
Beautiful summer weather can make it tempting to hold your next press conference outdoors. What's not to like? Fresh air, maybe a cool breeze, plenty of room.
Not so fast. There are lots of gotchas when it comes to outside press conferences. The biggest one is the lack of control when it comes to outdoor conditions. Aside from the possibility of getting rained out (do you have a contingency location?), the outdoor press conference can cause a variety of issues.
Chief among the potential problems is the wind. A strong breeze can cause havoc with your script, even if it's in a binder. Even if you're able to maintain control of the pages, the distraction can throw you off and cause you to lose your focus.
The wind can also do a number on your hair. Men are just as vulnerable as women. The problem is not simply your wind-blown appearance. It's a huge distraction to deal with at such an important time.
A third problem with the wind is the noise it produces in microphones. Even with wind screens, your mic is bound to pick up some wind noise, and that can ruin an important sound bite.
When you're dealing with a difficult subject and getting peppered with questions from the media, one very effective strategy in media relations is what we call broadening the issue.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
After all, what you're experiencing is likely not unique to you or your organization. The problem may affect many others or the issue may have surfaced in other ways at other companies.
TAKE THE SPOTLIGHT OFF OF YOURSELF
So, you want to help reporters understand that this is not simply your problem. In this way, you help to take the spotlight off of yourself and focus it on a much larger playing field.