Tuesday, May 15, 2012

POLITICOPro Energy Briefing -- Will Talking Points Save Us

As I sit here listening to a DC PoliticoPro energy briefing this morning, the insiders guide to policy and politics in Washington, I am struck by the talking point culture of this city.

Public relations professionals often discuss the need to speak in sound bites and bridge back to your message. However, in political circles it is sometimes shocking to hear talking point after talking point flying at you like verbal gunfire.

Here at the briefing, the Obama Administration's representative is being questioned right now by reporters from Politico. Even though these journalists pry and probe to get a scoop, this person is not leaving the script. Who can blame her, that's what she is trained to do. And she is just person one in a line of talking points deliverers for the morning.

To start this session, a rep from the sponsor company read a sleep-inducing boiler plate while a bevy of lobbyists slowly tried to wake up while choking down their continental breakfast. Following the Administration's glowing review of President Obama's "visionary" leadership, Sen. Lamar Alexander began to deliver his points revealing the problems in the "Obama" economy. Sheesh!

So what are we to do?

Staying on message will always be important, but we need to practice adding authenticity to delivery. We have all watched political interviews and anyone can tell the difference between a talking point and a message delivered with authentic care.

As communications practitioners it is part of our job to move people past the key message and on to the key message -- authentically delivered.

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