The Rules of Engagement

Strategist Andy Brack, a former reporter and U.S. Senate press secretary, believes the press is becoming more intrusive in the rush to get stories. Often, regular folks who don't know how the media operate get caught in the crossfire.

Brack offers the following list of what regular folks should do if they're barraged by the media. If you follow these simple rules, you should avoid big hassles. At the same time, you'll be more likely to get out your message in a clear and concise manner. Here are his "Rules of Engagement":

1. Don't lie. Ever.

2. You don't have to answer every question you're asked.

3. Think. Think before you answer anything. A corollary: Have a clear goal in mind before you answer anything.

4. Don't lose your cool. If you do, the media won't forget - it will show a video clip or photo of how you lost your cool over and over and over.

5. If you're wrong, admit it. If you're happy, be it. If you're hurt, show it.

6. Answer only the question that you want.

7. Assume everything is "on the record."

8. Stick to your story. Don't improvise.

9. Don't run your mouth. Be concise and to-the-point. Often, less is more.

10. Always think of the future. Don't burn your bridges with reporters.

© Andrew C. Brack, 1996.



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