Two words to press success

November 18, 2019

A great book for business negotiation is former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss’ Never Split the Difference. Voss shows how to think smarter, talk better, and win bigger. It’s all built on two words: “what” and “how.”

According to Voss, these words are the foundation for calibrated questions – questions that reframe a conversation and move a negotiation towards victory instead of loss. In Voss’ world, the defensive “No, I can’t do that” becomes a helpful “How am I supposed to do that?” The accusatory “Why did you do that?” becomes an inquisitive “What caused you to do it?”

“What and “how” can help you win bigger, better contracts more frequently. They can also put you in the press.

Media gatekeepers love these words

Reporters, producers, editors and other media gatekeepers are tough cookies. They get hundreds of e-mails per day. You have to use the right words the right way to get past them to reach your target markets. “What” and “how” are two of the most important ones because they get to the heart of why someone should care about what you have to say.

Think about an article you recently read or an interview you’ve heard. You probably heard “what” is going on – such as an event or something that’s already in the news – and “how” people are affected. The job of a gatekeeper is to put only the most interesting or relevant material in front of their audiences, so answering “what” solves interesting and “how” solves relevant.

Now, written press content is typically between 400 and 800 words. You may be on television for several minutes and on a radio show or podcast for over 30 minutes. So be sure to have other words in your press strategy – but “what” and “how” should be your foundation.

Go get in the press

We’ve explained before how to lead and follow the news cycle and other essentials to the press placement process. With 44 days left in 2020, we challenge you to think of “how” to use “what” you do to get in the press to start the next decade off right. Or just contact us for an initial consultation.

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