You might as well say “guilty as charged,” because that is how that phrase is most often interpreted. The phrase “no comment” is legalistic and should have no place in the PR lexicon.
Yet, just last week, GOP presidential candidate (and former speaker of the House) Newt Gingrich uttered these two incriminatory words in response to questions about his personal finances, which include a reported half-million-dollar debt to Tiffany & Co.
For a man who has been in politics for more than 30 years, he should have known better than to use “no comment.” People use it because it’s what they have seen on TV and the movies; not those who have had PR pros directing their every professional move since 1978.
When dealing with hostile or negative questions, it’s best to remain calm and keep your answers short. So, to help Gingrich (and others), I’ve compiled a list of five phrases better than “no comment”:
1. I don’t have anything to say.