Key uses classic analogy to make UN point

Posted June 11, 2014

John key showed his media skills this week by using a classic analogy to make sure people understood why he could not divulge how much the government had spent on trying to win a seat on the UN Security Council.

We always tell our media training clients that one effective way to get their points across in media interviews is to use analogies. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, they are a great way to make a point if you can liken the point you are making to something else everyone will understand.

They are also good because you can almost guarantee a good analogy will be used in the subsequent story. Remember that journalists only use snippets of media interviews in their stories. So if you can give them a great analogy to make your point, it’s a win win situation. That’s because you get your point across by using the analogy and the journalist gets to make her story more interesting by using your analogy.

So what is the analogy that I’m talking about? Here it is.  When asked how much the New Zealand Government had spent on trying to get the seat on the Security Council, Key said he couldn’t divulge that. Some may think he should, particularly since it’s taxpayer money we are talking about. But when asked again he said something like: “Giving out that information would be like Steve Hansen divulging the All Blacks’ game plan before next week’s Test against England.”

Not only does that give the journalist a great sound bite or quote to use in the story, it also makes Key’s point as well as he possibly could. He can also be pretty confident that the analogy will make it into the final story because it helps the journalist bring the story to life. Therefore everyone is happy. The journalists has an interesting story and Key gets his point across. That’s the key when preparing for media interviews. Giving great quotes and sound bites to satisfy journalists, but making sure they are different ways of making the points you want to get across.

For more on my media training or crisis communication training, contact [email protected]

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