Love them or hate them, politicians are quick witted, well spoken, and typically able to drive home their message whether a reporter likes it or not. While it’s the reporter’s job to ask pointed and direct questions, the candidate’s goal is always to get back to their message during an interview.

Next time you see the masters of this art like Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders, listen closely to the questions they are asked and listen even more carefully to find the moment in their answer that turns away from the question they were asked to the answer they want to give.

As part of my role, I do a lot of media training, but not always with candidates. Often times, the folks that I work with are business or non-profit leaders, people who are not just preparing to handle questions from the media, but also from their boardroom or partner programs they are working to recruit.

Message discipline and the art of the pivot are just as important for a CEO or an Executive Director as they are for a candidate for Congress.

No matter who you are, you’re going to have meetings where you’ll be asked questions. Some will be in favor of the point you want to make, and some won’t. That’s just the nature of working of today’s business climate. The key to success in those situations is how you handle these questions. How do you deliver your message? How do you handle adversity? What’s your tone? Do you have any tells in your delivery that show a lack of confidence?

Each of these questions (and countless more) have an impact on how you are perceived in a job interview, or presenting to your board, or speaking with a reporter, or selling your services to a potential customer or client. Mastering your delivery gives you a leg up on your competition and helps drive the message you want your audience to take home with them.

Long story short, media training: it’s not just for press!

-Justin Giorgio, Senior Account Director