Why Steve Hansen's "like kissing your sister" worked so well

10 July 2017

We haven’t seen anyone master the use of the analogy to get a point across since John Key left the top job. But it now seems that someone in another top job has stolen the mantle.

Steve Hansen’s description of the drawn series with the Lions as “a bit like kissing your sister” has led the news coverage of the result in New Zealand, and even more so in the UK.

John Key was the master of the analogy. He regularly used it to make his points and it usually featured the All Blacks.

Why is it so valuable?

Reporters need to make their stories exciting and they need a specific angle. If Hansen had said something like, “We’re not happy or unhappy,” that would have been fairly boring and the point may not have been the focus of media attention.

But by making his point in such an interesting way, he almost guaranteed it would be the focus. It created a win win situation. He got his point across and the media got a good story. Sports reporters particularly would have been relieved because they often struggle more than most to get interesting quotes and sound bites out of players and coaches.

The words ‘a bit like kissing your sister’ even made the headline of most online stories about the game across the world.

What does this means for you?

This shows how media spokespeople can maximise the chances of their points become the focus of stories. Lots of people complain about the angles reporters choose. But if you help them by dressing up your points in interesting ways, you can have a major say in what they use. John Key knew this and it looks like Steve Hansen has also realised it.

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Written by

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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