In part 1 of public relations press conferences, I covered the basics of holding a PR press conference that will generate an audience, but if you want it to make a significant impact your presentation needs to memorable and impressionable. It only takes a little preparation to make that happen.
Stage your press conference site as though it is a theatrical show. Arrange ample, roomy, comfortable seating with adequate lighting optimally positioned. Check and recheck your sound system to make sure it is working properly and the volume is high enough to be heard, but not annoying. If you are holding it outside, make sure you check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
Any successful public speaker or teacher will tell you the more senses you can involve in your audience, the more they will retain. While it may be rather difficult reaching the senses of smell, taste, and touch (depending on your topic) using visuals can be extremely helpful. Make sure, however, that your visuals are eye-catching but professional-looking and to the point.
Always have press kits to hand out to each media person in attendance. In a previous article (The Public Relations Press Kit) I described in detail the components of an effective press kit, but they can be summarized as follows:
- A striking, professional-looking cover
- Information sheets on the backgrounds of the organization, management team, products or services offered, etc.
- News release in the proper format
- Brochures and/or flyers on the company and its products/services
- Black and white photos
- Color slides
- Moderator – Appoint a moderator, yourself or someone else with good public speaking skills and a professional appearance. The moderator introduces the speakers and facilitates the question and answer period.
- Speakers – You can have more than one speaker, if necessary, but make it clear to them that they must not exceed five minutes in length. They should have their talking points prepared in advance and their presentations must be succinct. Reporters have no time for “fluff.”
Have a very specific agenda prepared in advance detailing the exact minute of each part of the press conference – introductions, speakers, and Q & A – and make sure everyone involved adheres to the time allotted to them. And by all means, start on time.
The thought of rehearsing a press conference may seem a little uncomfortable to you, but keep in mind that you are putting on a performance. You want everything to go as planned, so rehearse and rehearse again until you know it will be done right.
With a little planning, you can hold a public relations press conference that will accomplish your client’s goal and skyrocket your own career at the same time.