Do you have a public, patient, or media speaking engagement in the near future? The Communications Cabinet, along with the staff of the AAOS public relations department, has created a Public and Media Relations Manual to help guide you through interactions with the general public and media. This manual also can help create a public relations program in your local community.
As you plan your presentation or interview, develop three to five key messages and write them down. These are the key points to which you can come back to time and time again. It is helpful to have at least one example of each key point to help illustrate what you mean. This can be an anecdotal perspective, or an example of a patient’s experience. As a spokesperson or speaker, you are responsible for getting your key messages into the presentation or interview.
Think about your audience, and tailor comments with that specific audience in mind. If you are speaking with a reporter, think about that outlet’s readers, viewers, or listeners.
Be specific with each comment you make. Rambling statements often lead to fragmented quotes or sound bites.
Assume the microphone is always on and that every camera or smartphone is always rolling. Nothing you say in a public environment or in an interview with a reporter is ever “off the record.”
Be prepared with visuals that relate to the presentation or interview topic.
Always provide correct titles and spellings no matter how obvious they may seem.
Offer time comparisons to illustrate an advancement or trend. For example, you might point out that “Twenty years ago, patients would need this, but today….”
Send patients and reporters to OrthoInfo.org for more information on a bone and joint health topic, or to ANationInMotion.org for patient perspectives and real-life examples.
Finally, remember that you are the expert. Be natural and let your medical expertise shine.
More tips are available in the free AAOS Public and Media Relations Manual, which is available for download under the member resources section of the AAOS newsroom, http://newsroom.aaos.org.
Lights, camera, action!
Media spokespersons speak on behalf of the Academy and answer media inquiries. If you have expertise on a particular topic and enjoy speaking engagements, you may want to add yourself to the AAOS spokesperson database. Please take a few minutes and create an AAOS Spokesperson Online Profile.
From the online newsroom (http://newsroom.aaos.org), click on “Media Resources,” in the left navigation bar. Scroll down to AAOS Spokespersons, click, and then click on “Sign up and become an AAOS Spokesperson.” You will need your AAOS username and password. Remember that media often work under tight deadline and need a response from an expert within hours. If you add your cell phone number to your spokesperson profile, it will remain behind the AAOS login, and only staff will have access to it.
If you have any questions about AAOS public and media relations, contact Melissa Leeb, director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-384-4030.
Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.