If you are preparing for a media interview, it is important to know how to get out of trouble. You may get a surprise question, and it might not be a fair question. The reporter could present you with a false choice, paraphrase, rumor, hypothetical, third party comment, or a topic that you are legally restricted from speaking freely (the list of reporter tactics will be covered in a future post)!
Here is your escape plan. Bridging is a tactic designed to move a conversation forward. It gets the listener to focus on the bigger picture rather than one specific negative event. You acknowledge the question, bridge, and then move to your talking points.
For example, if a reporter asks you a question about a potential merger, but you can’t discuss the details, you can say: “While we do not discuss business financial rumors, what I can tell you is that we are always evaluating our business portfolio to better serve our customers.”
If you notice an interview is no longer focused on your talking points, it’s time to take back control! Use a bridge to get back on message. Examples of bridging statements include:
The most important thing to know is…
The bottom line is…
At the end of the day…
Bridging statements are designed to give a broader perspective. As a spokesperson, it is your job to deliver quotes and soundbites that are strategically beneficial for your brand. Remember, a bridge is designed to move a conversation forward. Once you bridge, do not go back to the original question. You have moved on!
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