Increasing Your Message Odds

Timothy Walker

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Sometimes media gurus like me get too fancy. We teach clients all sorts of subtle ways to bridge back to message points and to weave message points subtly into an answer. But sometimes the best approach is to be direct-and I mean really direct.

If you are walking into a morning local TV talk show and you have three specific message points, then have them written down as three succinct sentences on a note card. Now you’ve probably heard that before, but here’s the wrinkle. Hand one copy of the card to the producer of the show and say, “Here are the three most important points that I think would be helpful and interesting to your audience today. "

Next, when you sit down beside the host who is about to interview you, hand the anchor another copy of the card and say, “Here are the three most important points that I think would be helpful and interesting to your audience today. "

Please note that I didn’t say to put a press release or a detailed fact sheet in front of the host or the producer. They don’t want that now-there is no time to wade through it. But a simple three point, three sentence message on a note card is something that can be read in just a glance. Therefore it isn’t annoying, it is helpful, especially since people so rarely do it.

Now, everyone is focused on your messages. You will likely find that the host is now leading you right to your message points and the entire interview is focused on the ideas you care about the most.

But be careful, this technique does not work in every situation. If you are a company under siege during a crisis, this tactic won’t work. If you are a politician running for office, the host will feel obligated to get you to say things that are off message. If you are a public figure involved with any controversy, this likely won’t work. But if you are being interviewed to promote some issue that promotes the public good, even if it is of a commercial nature, then chances are that you can use this tactic to great success.

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest and are right in front of our noses. Or in front of our hosts noses - if we put them there.

TJ Walker is the worlds leading speaking coach, author of “Presentation Training A-Z. " and “Media Training A-Z. " He is the current host of and and can be reached at . You can read more of his presentation and media tips at


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