What Are Bridges?
You may have heard about a very effective media interview technique. People getting media training are constantly being told to use bridges when doing interviews. With good reason. Bridges are a really effective way of allowing you to talk about what you want to talk about in an interview and not what the reporter wants you to talk about.
To start with, let me describe what a bridge is and how it’s used. It’s normally a short phrase that’s used at the start of an answer (although it can appear later) that leads from a reporter’s question to you getting to your key message. From your perspective, the interview really comes down to you wanting to use your key messages as a big part of your answer. How do you do that if you get a negative question, or in other words, how do you get from the negative question to your key message?
Remember you always need to answer the question, or at least show that you recognize the question. If you’re a Town Councillor and a reporter asks a question along the lines of “Aren’t you and the other Council members just being greedy by raising taxes by six percent?” You would be tempted to say “No we’re not being greedy”, which is something you shouldn’t do because the word greedy is a red flag word and one that you want to avoid. Rather than resort to that, use a bridge. Here’s now it would go:
Reporter: “Aren’t you and the other Council members just being greedy by raising taxes by six percent?”
You: “Some people may look at it that way, but what our Council is focused on is delivering the best services to taxpayers and this increase will allow us to do that.
What you’ve done is use the words “Some people may look at it that way” to acknowledge the question and then use a bridge to get to your key message. What your Council is focused on is the bridge that allows you to get to your key message about delivering the best services possible.
Here are a few of my favourite bridges:
What we’re focused on is….
What’s important to remember is….
What taxpayers need to know….
Our customers have told us….
I don’t know about that, but what I do know is…..
That may be your opinion, however…..
Bridges basically allow you to talk about what you want to talk about and not what the reporter wants you to talk about. They’re a valuable tool to learn if you want to control the interview instead of letting it control you.
If you have a question you can’t find an answer to,