Trump lesson for all media spokespeople

10 November 2016

Clearly many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he offered them hope and a fresh approach. But just as important has been his ability to get his message across. He’s been able to package it in a way that both the news media and voters want to hear it.



With the changing news media landscape and so many messages being thrust in front of us every day, anyone fronting the media needs to be able to break down their message to its absolute core.

They also need to go a step further. That message then has to be adapted to make it interesting. This is the best way to get media attention and get potential voters to remember it.


Trump was an expert at this

Trump was able to do this from the first primary debate. He was the only one who gave the media interesting material that they could use as their sound bites or direct quotes. He has continued to use conflict to do this to bring his points to life and get them through media gatekeepers and remembered by voters.

Remember, it’s only communication if it registers with the person you are trying to get through to. He didn’t just talk about the need to stop illegal Mexicans crossing the border, he talked about stopping the rapists entering the US. He didn’t just talk about getting some fresh faces in Washington, he talked about, “Draining the swamp.” That’s gold for the media.

Whether you agree with it or not, it’s the way to get a message across in today’s world.

You don’t need to use conflict to liven up your message. You can use a whole range of other elements from analogies to emotion. But you do need to dress them up.

While this is fact, it’s also unfortunate. It means important issues like potential trade wars and climate change catastrophe get little attention. People just don’t seem interested in any detail. That’s why current affairs shows even struggle to make ends meet these days.


Your opportunity

But as a leader, you can turn this to your advantage. If you know how to talk in sound bites (like Trump,) you can keep out of trouble in media interviews and turn them from threats into major opportunities, regardless of the topic. But you need to learn the skills. It’s too late when that phone starts ringing.

If you want to learn the five steps to pain free media interviews, download my White Paper at this link.

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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