THE MAGAZINE

And the Incorrect Answer Is: “No Comment"

By William S. Cottringer, Ph.D., CHS-III

***** And the Incorrect Answer Is: “No Comment.” By Ron Palmer, CPP, and Mike McCarthy; published by The Palmer/McCarthy Group; available from www.amazon.com (Web); 189 pages; $24.95.

At first glance, No Comment seems to have little relevance or value to security professionals. But today’s security director is called on more frequently to answer tough questions from the media, making the advice in this book quite useful. Security’s bottom line is to protect the corporate bottom line, and the ability to speak ably to the media and government investigators goes directly to the plus side of the ledger.

Ron Palmer, CPP, and Mike McCarthy are seasoned pros who offer creative yet practical information to security professionals who get drafted as spokespeople. They present real-life experiences of how to counter media strategies and survive the most difficult interviews. They use a “Point-Counterpoint” technique, which walks the reader through the sallies and ripostes of an interview.

Why is “No comment” the wrong response to any media question? According to the authors, those words precipitate questions such as, “What are you trying to hide?” and “What’s really going on here?” They offer tips on what needs to be said and how to say it. Above all, security professionals and other spokespeople must be honest, positive, and empathetic.

The subtext of the book is that if security professionals can navigate hostile media interviews in a crisis, they will build the self-confidence to believe that they can overcome any obstacle on the job. That’s a lofty goal, but given the authors’ success in conveying to readers the importance of being prepared for public comment, it doesn’t seem unattainable.


Reviewer: William S. Cottringer, Ph.D., CHS-III (Certified in Homeland Security at Level III), is president of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, Washington, and a security expert witness. He is the author of You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too and The MindsEye of Success: Seeing & Being Your Signature Self. He is a member of ASIS International.

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