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Despite the best of preparation by the PR professional, sometimes offenses by a CEO during a media interview can have a negative impact on the resulting media coverage – causing damage to the CEO’s and the firm’s images, and perhaps even undermining the firm’s prospects for future positive coverage. Worse yet, often these offenses are unintentional … and avoidable.
According to a study conducted by our partners in the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) from across North America and Europe, these top offenses overall are:
1) Showing impatience or arrogance
2) Telling the reporter what to include in the news story
3) Not answering material questions
4) Talking in platitudes rather than specifics
5) Failing to delivering on your promises during or after the interview
6) Interrupting the journalist or allowing something to interrupt the interview.
Interestingly, there are some geographic variations. For example:
• North American journalists rank CEO (#1) impatience or arrogance as the top turn-off (70 percent), followed by not answering material questions (66 percent) and (#2) telling the reporter what to include in the article (62 percent).
• Yet even more European journalists rate impatience or arrogance as the top CEO offense (75 percent), closely followed by (#3) not answering material questions (73 percent) and (#4) talking in platitudes instead of specifics (62 percent).
And across Europe, journalists’ views can vary significantly by country. For example:
• In France, the worst CEO offense (88 percent) is (#5) not delivering on your promise during, and following, the interview;
• In Spain, (#6) interrupting the journalist or allowing something to interrupt the interview can severely damage the coverage;
• In Poland, telling the reporter what to include and exclude from the article is just as harmful as impatience/arrogance and not answering key questions; and
• In Finland, Hungary, Ireland and Italy, not answering a material question is the biggest reporter turn-off.
Knowing which CEO behaviors are most likely to favorably impress a journalist – and what specific behaviors should be avoided with reporters from different countries – you can boost your CEO’s chances for positive press.
One way to obtain that info is to access a PR expert who has that kind of local media, market and cultural knowledge – like we have through PRGN offices in 50 key markets around the globe that are run by local PR experts.