Key uses classic media training skills to get points across

24 January 2014
When giving media interviews, you should have up to three basic points you want the subsequent story to include. Remember that only snippets of what you say will make it into the final story. The best way to attract the journalist to your points is to mention them in different ways throughout the interview and dress them up with interesting language. This is an important part of our media training workshops. John KeyPrime Minister John Key is an expert at this. Yesterday he used two classic examples when talking to media. He had just announced an extra $359 million to create new roles of super teachers and super principals who would either oversee or take charge of less performing schools and teachers. When explaining how the new roles would help less fortunate pupils, he used an analogy as one way of making his point. He likened the new roles to the support given to rugby players who have not quite reached the All Blacks. The use of an analogy is a great way to make a point, particularly when using a popular and well known entity like the All Blacks. Journalists like quoting analogies because they are a clear way of getting a point through to the audience. They also make their story more interesting. What would be more interesting? “We want good principals to help in under-performing schools,” or the All Blacks analogy? By following Key’s lead and using analogies as different ways of making a point, you also can have confidence that your point will make it into the story. Key is an expert at this. The other classic way he made the same point was with a personal story.  He said that while he was bought up in a state house, he was still able to get a fantastic education at Burnside High School. He wanted the new positions the policy created to help others just like him to get the same opportunities. Media audiences and journalists love personal stories, so if you can make a point by using a personal story, do it.  Key often does this to great effect. By understanding what journalists want, you can influence the look of the final story. For more on our media training or presentation training, contact

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Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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