You are the spokesman for your credit union and one of the branch managers was just arrested for embezzling over two million dollars. The media is here and wants answers to their questions. You are the spokesman for your company and need to get your message across in this crisis. How do you best do this?

Jason Carlton came and spoke to us on Tuesday September 17th and threw Jaque Poll into this situation. In our case the rest of PRSSA was the media and we peppered him with our best questions. Jaque held his own and Jason used this situation as a way of launching his discussion with us about crisis communication.

Points from Jason:

  • Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, we’re looking into that.”
  • Use every media opportunity to leverage your key messages.
  • Be honest and transparent to build credibility.

“The essential purpose of an interview is to present a point of view or deliver a set of messages.  It is NOT merely to answer a reporter’s questions.”   -Richard Alenriani

Jason recommended using bridges, flags and to become comfortable controlling the interview. Some examples of how to do this are:


  • … and you should know…
  • …and what’s really important is…
  • …but what the company really values…
  • ….but what’s important for you to know…

 Flags (can use physical flags)

  • The most important aspect is…
  • The main point is….
  • The real issues is….
  • It really boils down to….

Ways to control the interview:

  • Focus on answers, not questions
  • Drive interview with your answers
  • Be engaging, interactive and cordial
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms
  • Use examples, personal experiences, analogies anecdotes, facts, statistics, third party endorsements

 Be Assertive and be descriptive. 

Be Aware of sneaky Interview Techniques

  • Hypothetical questions
  • “Just between you and me”
  • The pregnant pause

You are always on the record- There is no off the record

After a great presentation and discussion another hypothetical situation was thrown out and Kirsten Stuart had a shot at trying out her crisis communication techniques.

Overall it was a fun and informative presentation.  Thanks so much Jason!

1 Comment

  1. Great information and he did a great job.   I left thinking of many things I can do to ensure I do right by my employer and employees or members of the community that may be involved in a situation down the line I may have to handle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.