One major press conference tip I often advise companies is to always use a room with two doors. That leads to the question, “Why?”
A press conference room with two doors, especially for a bad news or crisis communications event, is designed to provide protection to the spokesperson.
In today’s BraudCast video, we take you inside an actual press conference room during a crisis communications drill, to show you why two doors are better than one.
If the press conference room has just one door, the following always happens:
- The media enter through this door.
- The spokesperson enters through this door.
- Upon completion of the press conference, the spokesperson must walk through the media to exit, subjecting themselves to additional questions that they might have avoided answering while they were at the podium.
In other words, there is no clean exit for the spokesperson.
The best press conference room has two doors. Two doors changes the strategy to look like this:
- The media enter through a rear door.
- The spokesperson enters through a second door at the front of the room near the podium.
- Upon completion of the press conference, the spokesperson can exit the room through the same door they entered, without ever passing through the media in the rear of the room.
The two-door strategy allows the spokesperson to terminate the press conference at the point of their choosing. If there are questions that went unanswered or questions of speculation that the spokesperson wishes to avoid, the second door gives the spokesperson a clean exit.
As an added press conference room tip, the room you select for your press conference should not be within the inner workings of an active office or production facility. Ideally, the room should be adjacent to a lobby or the room should have an external door.
- You don’t want the media walking through an active office where they may overhear or see things that you don’t want the media to know, see, or hear.
- You don’t want the media walking through an active production facility where they might take pictures of things that you don’t want to be photographed.
What if your company doesn’t have a proper room with two doors, away from the working office or facility?
Consider having the news conference in the lobby, where there is one door to the outside world and one door to the office. Another alternative is to have the press conference outside. For an outside press conference, the spokesperson can the conference by entering the building.
One final pro tip, or best practices if you have the press conference in your lobby or outside of your facility. If the news is bad news, try to avoid having your company name and/or log behind the spokesperson. There is no need to reinforce the name or image of the company delivering the bad news.
To set goals, talk about your needs, and formulate a budget, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min
Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…” and founder of SituationHub crisis communications software.
More crisis communications articles: