One trick to help you survive a tough press conference

Be judicious with this tip. You can’t use it all the time, but when facing a particularly aggressive pack of reporters, it might spare you some heat.

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You know the reporters will ask aggressive questions. As reporters often do when they’re around their peers, they’re going to try to outperform the journalist who asked the previous question by asking an even tougher one.

You want to appear in front of the journalistic pack for only as long as you have to, but you also know that taking a few questions will help you appear open and transparent instead of defensive and evasive. Here’s a technique that will allow you to look open while limiting your exposure to the press.

First, some background.

When dealing with controversial topics, it’s usually a good practice to limit the time for the question period by telling reporters something at the beginning such as, “I only have about 10 minutes for questions,” or “I have time for five questions.”

In most cases, it’s also a good practice to begin a press conference with an opening statement, during which you lay out the basic facts—the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

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