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Language Situations - Sicher durch die Pressekonferenz

Schlagwörter: Pressekonferenz, PK, Englisch lernen, OWAD, Business English

Running an international business requires understanding how to organise and run a press conference. Management expert Ken Taylor offers a few tips.

Many organisations deal with the international press, which could require organising and calling press conferences to introduce new and innovative products and services, or to deal with a crisis. If you ever have to take part in a press conference, here are some tips on what to do and what to say in English.


In most press conferences there will be several people representing your organisation. Although they will often come from different departments and have varying areas of expertise, they need to project a team image. That means clearly preparing your roles to determine who the conference leader is and who is responsible for which area of competence.

Make sure the team thinks through the potential questions you might face and then discuss appropriate answers. What’s important is identifying questions that might cause embarrassment or show your organisation in a bad light.

Proper preparation allows each team member to thoroughly prepare their part in the process. It will also allow second language speakers the chance to identify the vocabulary they need to explain their part of the procedure.

Starting the conference

The team should enter the conference room after all the journalists are present. The conference leader then briefly outlines the reason for the press conference:

“Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming today. We have called this press conference to tell you what exactly happened yesterday in our Leipzig plant. As you know there was a release of untreated chemicals into the local river. We now know exactly what went wrong and we’ll explain that to you. Then we’ll describe what we are doing to clean this up so that there is as little damage to the environment as possible. Finally we’ll tell you how we intend to prevent anything like this happening again at our plant.”

Then the leader introduces the team:

“My name is Franz Gruber, Head of PR. On my right, that’s your left, is Dr Harald Lange our Environmental Protection Officer. And on my left is Katrin Wolters, the manager of our Effluent Treatment Plant.”

Finally the conference leader reminds everyone about the rules of the road and approximate timing:

“First of all Dr Lange will briefly describe what happened yesterday and the environmental implications. Ms Wolters will then explain our clean-up processes and what new procedures have been introduced to prevent this from happening again. This should take about 10 minutes. Then we will take your questions for 30 minutes.

Running the conference

The conference leader should act as meeting facilitator, passing questions to the appropriate team member and rarely answering him/ herself. Journalists should be asked to identify themselves and the publication they represent: “Mark Thompson. The Daily Gazette, London.”

The facilitator should conclude the press conference by thanking the journalists.

“Are there any more questions? No? If you want to have any individual interviews please stay behind and we’ll try to arrange those for you. Well, once again, thank you all for coming along today. I’ll close the official press conference here.”

Remember: if you have a clear idea of the procedure to follow and prepare yourself thoroughly, you will then feel more comfortable running or taking part in such conferences in English.

Schlagwörter: Pressekonferenz, PK, Englisch lernen, OWAD, Business English

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