Is this quote true?  It probably depends on how prepared you are for the reporter’s call.  In this article we will explore how you can be prepared and turn every call by the media into a positive opportunity for your association.  First and foremost always remember that the story is already out there and it is going to be told whether you respond or not.  So a response is your opportunity to tell the real story or your story.  Below are 5 tips that will help you be prepared for the call:

  1. Who is the spokesperson for the community?  Board members are not always the most effective spokespeople for an association. But, whoever it is, such person should be knowledgeable, easily available, and willing to keep all stakeholders (board members, manager, attorney, etc.) in the loop.
  2. What outcome do you want to achieve from this media contact?  What is your key message? Who is the audience you want to reach or are concerned about?  Delivering a thoughtful, positive message is much better than simply defending against accusations.  Be prepared to talk about the benefits and protection the covenants provide to all residents.
  3. What is the association’s official position on the issue?  Think through the worst-case scenario.  If a legal matter may be involved, it is best to consult with your association’s legal counsel before developing a response or talking points.
  4. Know the reporter’s deadline. When a reporter calls it is best to take some time to gather current information and prepare. Ask what information the reporter is looking for and who the reporter has already talked to.  Make sure to meet the reporter’s deadline and call back quickly, otherwise your side of the story may not be told.
  5. Be yourself.  Practice delivering your key message or talking points. Always listen carefully to the questions and take the time you need to think through your answers.  Be honest and straightforward.

When the media calls, just remember a timely, thoughtful response can mean the difference between a bad story and a positive story for your association. And by the way, never say “no comment”!

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