Andrew Little improving his sound bites

Posted May 13, 2015

Andrew Little is becoming better at getting his points across. He’s doing this by using interesting language that makes these points clearly and briefly. This is exactly want journalists want for their stories.

Anyone in a leadership position knows that reporters will only take 10 second snippets of what they say for their edited stories. These clips are known as sound bites.

This means the secret to getting your points through media gatekeepers is to make them by using brief and interesting language. The use of these "sound bites" is vital for any media spokesperson. Understanding and crafting them is an important part of my media training workshops.

John Key has always been a master of this. But Andrew Little has not always used colourful language. That means his points either don’t get used by reporters, or if they do, people don’t remember them.

But now he seems to be turning a corner. This was evident in his recent pre-Budget speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce this week. He made a number of interesting sound bites in his presentation that journalists were likely to use in their stories. (These are not only important in media interviews, but also speeches where the media is in attendance). For example, he used emotional language well when referring to the Government’s failure to produce a surplus he said: “This is one of the biggest deceptions of a lifetime.” Journalists love to use emotion in their stories.

He also used a great analogy that made the cut into most media. “A different JK, John Kennedy, once said the best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining. But our JK would rather leave the whole and take credit for the sunny day.” Using analogies allows journalists to liven up their story, while making the point in a creative way.

Making points using rhetorical questions is another different way to make a point that allows journalists to add some variety to their stories. He used one when referring to the Government’s economic record. He said: “How is it that at a time of around 3 percent growth a year, people aren’t feeling any better?”

While you may agree or disagree with his points, he’s becoming better at getting them through by using interesting sound bites. You can also do this, whether presenting or dealing with individual reporters.

For more on my media training workshops, contact [email protected] or 029 200 8555

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