Whether you are an interviewer, interviewee or the end user, you will often find that there are questions that don’t get to the points you wish to make or questions you don’t want to answer depending on how you are viewing it.
If it’s a policy issue not to discuss certain topics, it is fair to say ‘its our policy not to discuss…’ and then bridge on to what you do want to talk about.
You may be asked a question about the UK's top rated online casinos to which you do not know the answer and you can use the following technique.
The ‘Block and Bridge’ technique allows you to block a question and bridge back to the important message you have developed about a particular subject. The block stops the current line of questioning and the bridge leads the media to your message.
Blocking words and phrases
Irrelevance: if it’s not relevant don’t discuss it
BLOCK: That question is irrelevant BRIDGE: The real issue is…
Speculation: ‘What if’ or hypothetical questions
BLOCK: That’s a hypothetical question BRIDGE: The facts that I have are…
Needling: ‘Come on now, you don’t expect me to believe…’
BLOCK: Yes, I do BRIDGE: In actuality…
Dumb and Dumber: Reporter says they don’t understand or ask inane questions
BLOCK: Where did I lose you? BRIDGE: OK, lets start from the top…
BLOCK: That’s interesting BRIDGE: However
BLOCK: that’s not my area of expertise BRIDGE: but what I can tell you is..
BLOCK: Im not sure that’s strictly true BRIDGE: another way of thinking is this…
BLOCK: (space) BRIDGE: I think what you are really saying is…
BLOCK: Good question… BRIDGE: But remember…
Block and Bridge continued…
A simple and effective way of ensuring you have every question become an opportunity to make your point is to try to answer the question with a very brief answer then follow with one of your key messages… ie: “(short answer) which supports our goal of…”
Flagging / Heading
When trying to make your key messages clear in an interview, start with the conclusions and end with the explanations – you ‘flag’ the issue. This is especially important in broadcast interviews. Make your point then explain it if you need – or you can draw attention by saying phrases like: “the most important issue is...”
You can extend your sound bites cleverly by making it impossible for the media to separate them:
“There are three things every person should know here: 1)… 2)… and 3)…”
Pausing/know when to stop
Don’t continue after making your point
Use single, clear sentences to make your point
Reporters often leave a space of silence to try to draw unintended remarks out of guests trying to ‘fill the space’. You don’t have to!
Wear dark/medium coloured shirt/jacket
Be wary of what you say when cameras are not rolling, someone is always listening!