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How to best set up a press conference as a manager


Introduction

As a manager of a company that does not have a public relations department, the responsibility of setting up a press conference might fall on you. If you have not set up a press conference before, you will find out that there are tons of details involved. Get ready to work hard and follow these steps to help you on your way.


Instructions

Difficulty: Hard

Steps

Step 1: make sure your "news" is newsworthy. What if you set up a press conference and no one came? Before you even begin the process, you need to make sure that there is interest in the press. Call radio and TV stations and feel them out. If you get an unenthusiastic response (e.g., "yeah, maybe we'll try to send someone down to cover that"), you might want to reconsider the whole thing.

Step 2: Determine where the conference will be held. There are plenty of options for holding a press conference but not all are as good as others. You want to make sure that the press has easy access to the location and that ample audio and visual technology is available. Consider meeting rooms in places like conference centers or hotels that are equip for such a meeting.

Step 3: Invite the press. Typically, "invitations" are sent out in the form of a media advisory. This is a short statement that describes the topic of the conference, who will be available for interviews, and when and where the conference will be held. If you have time, mail or fax the advisory to the different media outlets about one week before the scheduled event.

Step 4: Prepare a press kit to give to the press before the meeting. The press kit should include an outline of the information presented at the conference, biographical information on the speaker or speakers, and any charts, graphs, or prepared statements that are going to be presented. You don't want to send this information out because the media agencies are likely to create their story from this material and not send someone to cover you event.

Step 5: Meet with the speaker. A day or two before the conference meet with the main speaker and go over the outline of his or her speech. You don't want to step on toes but you do want to make sure that the speaker is addressing the issue in the way that you want. Speak up if you feel like the intro is too long, there are too many points, or that the speech gets off track. Help the speaker practice answering questions that the press are likely to ask and decide how to handle controversial topics.

Step 6: Rehearse. Do a brief rehearsal to make sure of the details like who will introduce the speaker, where the speaker will stand, and to check out the audio and visual equipment. You may want to video the rehearsal to see how thing look on tape. At the rehearsal, you might also try out some practice questions to make sure the speaker can hear the audience.

Step 7: Show time! On the day of the conference, make sure that everybody involved arrives at least an hour early. Do another quick walk through of the conference room and check to make sure all the equipment is on. Start the conference right on time, no matter how many people are there, and stick with the plan that you rehearsed. If people try to interrupt, remind the media that questions will be accepted at the end of the presentation. When people ask questions, make sure that they are identified by name and agency.

Thank all people graciously at the end of the conference, go home, and watch yourself on TV!

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