Put Some Fashion Where Your Mouth Is

  • March 28, 2009
  • Starr Million Baker

I have a new rule I live by – a fashion rule (don’t hurt yourself laughing): I don’t leave the house without texture, color and shine. Every morning as I’m getting ready to head out the door, I make sure it’s all here: what was previously a basic (and boring) outfit of black t-shirt and jeans now has a splash of red (shoes), a touch of texture (knobby scarf), and a dash of shine (chunky gold bracelet). Fine to fabulous in three easy steps. Since instilling this What Not to Wear rule I have received more compliments on my put-together look and requests for shopping tips (“WHERE did you get that?”) than at any previous time in my life. If only I was this fashion forward in high school…

This same approach can be applied to media interviews. Too many times I’ve witnessed knowledgeable executives go into interviews without truly thinking about what they want to say (after all, who knows their business better than them?) and lo and behold the resulting story is not quite as colorful as they were hoping. “He misquoted me!” or “She didn’t quote me at all!” are common complaints of this (non)strategy. But what if they had approached the interview with some colorful commentary already in mind? A shiny sound bite ready to go along with some substance full of texture? While reporters are looking for the story basics, they also need those quotable nuggets – the color, texture and shine – that bring a story to life and get their readers engaged.

You be the judge – as a reader, which quote engages you more:

“Renewables will not work unless we have the transmission issues resolved.”
“The transmission issue will be the short pole in the tent real quick, if it’s not already in certain places.”

The first one makes a point (the basic black t-shirt); the second one adds the punch (the bold, bright green scarf). Both are necessary – in fact, these two quotes were from the same executive, in the same article – but the first without the second might have been left on the editor’s floor.

So apply a little fashion sense to your basic information wardrobe the next time you do an interview. I guarantee the results will be worth the extra effort.

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