Lothery & Associates

Media Training 2.0: The Transition

Did you watch the Today Show this morning?  Wow! Retired Gen. Stanley McChristal showed that his time out of the spotlight was effectively spent doing some pretty major media training.

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Today Show Interview, Gen. Stanley McChrystal

While his performance was a bit stiff, he clearly has been working on the art of “transitioning.” Now, some people may call it “bridging”  but it all boils down to how well a speaker can move from a question they don’t want to answer, to a message they want to deliver.  It’s no secret the general isn’t a fan of President Obama, I mean he did blast the man in Rolling Stone Magazine, which resulted in his resignation. But when he was asked  by Matt Lauer about whether he meant everything he and his colleagues said about the President in the article, he used one of  my favorite transitional phrases, “what’s more important to point out is…”  This was his fall-back phrase at least six times on anything related to the President and McChrystal never surrendered. My biggest critique of the interview is, however, that he used the same phrase. He didn’t vary the response, so it became clear that there was some gag-order or mutual non-disparagement agreement between the government and the general.  He took the high road, because he was required to, or so it appeared. To appear more genuine and sincere, the general could have used other phrases like:

  • Let’s not dwell on statements in the past, let’s focus on…
  • Everyone’s read the article, but they can read the book for more on that…
  • My current focus is now…
  • The bigger question is…

He did a great job of directing people to the book where he writes about each of the questions Matt Lauer asked, but needed a little more polish on the transitioning.

Again, this is just nitpicking. Any PR person, or lawyer for that matter, would be pleased with General McChrystal’s interview.  And he did wonders for promoting the book, but not divulging too much dirt!

What transitional phrases can you use to move from an unwanted question to your desired message?  Include them in the comments section below, so you can help others, communicate and connect!

 

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