How to Handle Sensitive Questions Asked by Media

How to Handle Sensitive Questions Asked by Media, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.“What’s your annual revenue?”

How would you answer this question if a reporter, radio show host, or another person in media asked you to divulge this or other sensitive information?

I was caught off guard the first time a local reporter asked me.

Was it okay to inflate the number?

Would the interview suddenly end if I didn’t answer?

Would the reporter get angry about my refusal and write something negative?

All of this swam in my head for what seemed minutes, but within seconds I said,

“I’d rather not say.”

“Oh, come on,” the reporter replied. “It’s part of the article. Everyone wants to know.”

“No,” I responded. “I don’t have my numbers available, and I don’t want to quote high or low.”

The reporter again asked about sales and then finally continued with the interview when I wouldn’t provide numbers.

That was a harrowing time in my early interview days. You realize the importance of media promotion, but then you get asked about proprietary details and aren’t sure how to respond.

You can ask friends who are also in business how they handle questions about sales, marketing, location (especially if you’re home based and don’t want it disclosed), but guess what? Most times, they haven’t pursued the media and don’t have answers. In fact, they ask you to tell them how you handled it so they’re prepared.

Media attention is crucial to your bottom line, and finding help to prepare for your 15 minutes of fame can be daunting. My article, Five Ways to Prepare For and Control Media Interviews, provides details to get ready for all of the attention you’ll soon draw.

These five methods are what I’ve learned in my 25+ years in business, and although the article doesn’t highlight every media situation, it will boost your confidence.

What question have you been asked by the media that created an uncomfortable dilemma for you?