A key objective in dealing with the media – whatever the reason or occasion – is to stay positive. When your company or organisation is performing badly, that is not easy and it may be that you prefer to keep a low profile until conditions have improved.
However, you may have no choice. If you have to go in front of the media to deal with a specific issue, at a time when your organisation is performing badly, it is still essential to stay as positive as possible.
In achieving this, there are two things to consider. Firstly you must separate the particular issue the media want to talk to you about, from your overall poor performance. Don’t be afraid to guide the direction of the interview. For example, you might insist that “we should deal with this particular issue that has arisen because that’s what will be of immediate concern to your readers/listeners/viewers. Now, our position on this is…”
Secondly, if the overall poor performance is raised in the interview, confront it as briefly and positively as possible – “yes, we are dealing with that as we speak. In fact we’ve been addressing this issue for several weeks and we should have further news on that shortly”. The interviewer may press you with questions trying to link today’s specific issue with your organisation’s overall performance. In that case, stick to the answer above. Don’t feel embarrassed about repeating it, after all the journalist has already repeated the question.
Clearly, what must be avoided is mixing the two issues, presenting an unjustly gloomy view and making a bad situation worse.