John Key and rugby analogies

Posted October 22, 2015

It’s well known that John Key is a natural when it comes to media interviews. He comes across as natural and in control. But what the novice may not realise is his ability to get his points through media gatekeepers and into news stories.

Unless interviews are live, reporters will only take little snippets from interviews and place them in the final story. This is the same for TV, radio and print media.

John Key is well aware of this so he dresses up his points in ways that make them irresistible to journalists. He knows they only want clear and interesting 10 second sound bites for their stories.

He gives this too them. For his entire time in office, he has used analogies with rugby and the All Blacks to get these points across. National media archives over the last seven years will be riddled with them.

This is smart politics and smart media relations. He gets his points across with reference to a champion team and the media get great material fort their stories. Any leader should follow this lead. In media interviews, don’t just state points, dress them up in attractive ways before presenting.

Here’s an example.

When the UN delegates were being wined and dined before they voted on whether New Zealand should win the seat on the Security Council, he was asked how much the tax payer was spending on the visit.

His point would have been, “I can’t tell you that because we don’t want our competitors for the seat to know.”

But this is what he said. “Telling you that would be like Steve Hansen giving the England Rugby Team the All Blacks game plan before next Saturday’s Test.”

Guess what got used.

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

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