What makes a good sound bite?
- 10 SECONDS is the average length, so MAKE IT COUNT
- Talk about what you know and give an assessment/your opinion as well as facts
- Provide 3 to 4 short useable bites in every conversation
- Plan ahead if you can, at least with the issues you may be asked
- Relax and enjoy the surprises
- Stop talking when you have made your point
Clear and to the point
- Reference your issues outline – know what you think.
- Combine points so that each can be used separately or together.
- Use complete sentences and include the question.
- Avoid jargon or insider languages reference, i.e. abbreviations, language shorthand that everyone might not know
- Don’t try and cover your whole campaign in every interview
Use visual metaphors or cultural associations
- Makes difficult ideas easy to access
- Colorful language is more likely to be remembered
- Associate you as accessible, friendly and part of the community
- Cultural associations reflect values without having to state them, for example: Bush’s phrase: “don’t need a permission slip” evokes school and being treated like a child
- Stories of your experience
- Stories of your constituent’s experience
- You want to feel comfortable and in control
- Take the time to take a breath and center yourself
- You can reschedule or ask for a moment to collect your thoughts if you need. Don’t feel pressured or rushed – you control the moment
- Have a friendly and warm relationship with the camera. The camera is each individual person you want to reach
- Heighten your energy. TV is a “cold medium” and tends to dampen
Quick Tip – Sound bites are good for door knocking too!
Frame the language
- Use phrases that one can’t disagree with
- Don’t fall prey to opposing language that makes you “wrong” — Patriot Act, Tax Relief, Blue Skies Act, No Child Left behind
- Frame your ideas with values ‘Affordable housing because, “American’s believe that every child deserves a safe home”’
Associate with images
- Images communicate to your viewers on an emotional level.
- Choose an interesting location.
- The location can support your stand on an issue in a visual way.
- Small Family Farm survival – you do the interview by the cows or on the farm instead of in your office
- Good lighting and direct, comfortable camera angle.
- Whenever possible look around you and shift location to best highlight you.
- You can engage the photographer and reporter in this.
The Big Rules
- Assume you are always on the record.
- Be honest, don’t say more than you know to be true.
- Know what you can’t say. You don’t want to say things that could be viewed as slander.
- Stick to your opinion and the facts you know.
To prepare (answer the following questions)
- What do I want to be sure the reporter understands when the interview is over?
- What information do I most want made public?
- Are there stakeholders in this situation who expect or need to hear certain things from me?
- Record your interviews for your use to review later.
- Prepare for what you can and enjoy what you can’t.