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Tips in Dealing with the Media- Part 3: Crafting the Right Message

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Intro (Part 1) | Part 2 | Part3 | Part4 | Part5 (Last)

*Note: This series is almost entirely based on a series of short videos (part of Wharton’s Communication class) by Amy Sharp, a media professional.*

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Once the interview starts, there are lots of things that you may want to say and remember.

Your key message points are what you think is important and what you want to ensure gets out.

You need to prepare for the interview by breaking your message into 3 sections that can be a combination of any of this: who, what, when, how does it affect you, what you are doing about it, etc. More than 3 message points can get confusing. More likely, you may not have time to relay and do justice to more than 3 key points.

You need to know and understand your audience. The type of language that you will use depends on audience, so you should tailor your message to reach the right people, at the right level. AVOID industry jargon. For Muslims, this means that if you are talking about Islam, AVOID using technical terms that may be common to Muslims but if your audience is non-Muslim, they have no idea what you are talking about. Don’t mention Hajj or sajdah or worse still, get into a discussion of Usool al-Fiqh, without explaining what you mean (this would then become of one you 3 key messages) in simple terms with examples. You need to keep it simple. The easiest way to lose audience is talk over their head.

Practice out loud, start forming catch phrases, also work out mentally how you will work out from A to B to C. Don’t memorize your points otherwise you will sound robotic and unreal (you don’t want to sound like John Kerry).

If you have to memorize your points, then you probably aren’t familiar enough with the topic to be talking about it. So, make sure then that you know what you are talking about. It seems obvious but people sometimes are overconfident about what they know, and reality strikes only when they are challenged on it. Memorization makes your believability even lower. Be natural. We don’t memorize our conversations.

Next Topics:

  • Part 4- Taking Control
  • Part 5- Appearing Confident

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Amad

    March 9, 2008 at 2:36 PM

    On the suggestion of limiting the message to 2-3 key points, I believe that also applies to khutbas. Too often we have khateebs that give rambling speeches, starting from fear of Allah to the need for muslims to vote , to the gaza issue, skipping to importance of marriage, and ending up on the importance of unity. By the time the khutba is done, most ppl have no idea what was said, and leave without even 1 sticky idea.

    Remember, keep it within alloted time, keep it to 2-3 thoughts and leave ppl with sticky ideas (see omar’s post on ideas that stick)

  2. Shirien

    March 11, 2008 at 10:55 PM

    Assalamu alaikum Akhi. MashaAllah great post. In talking about Muslims and the Media – I have something you might be interested in inshaAllah and something you might want to promote, please email me at xx(at)gmail.com inshaAllah. Barak Allahu feekum.

    We have your email when you submit a comment. Don’t want you to get other unsolicitated nonsense :) -amad

  3. Shirien

    March 12, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    ooops nevermind. br. ibnabeeomar beat me to it .. i was going to suggest Message Mastery also.

  4. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » And One Year Ago, MM was Born

  5. Pingback: Tips in Dealing with the Media- Part 5: Appearing Confident & Final Tips | MuslimMatters.org

  6. Pingback: Tips in Dealing with the Media- Part 2: First Interactions | MuslimMatters.org

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