Do you find when two or more people are talking at once that it gets pretty hard to follow? Sometimes when folks are contacted by a journalist for a short interview, instead of feeling confident enough to answer on the fly, they let themselves get talked into having their PR agency or in-house rep be a part of the phone calll too. And more times than not, this creates what I term the “echo effect” during the call. What is the echo effect?…The term “echo” is defined by Webster’s as “repetition of a sound caused by a reflection of sound waves.” So what is an “echo effect” in terms of press relations? t’s basically the sentence your PR rep or communications rep says to “clarify” what you just said in your response to a journalist’s query.
Here’s an example:
Journalist: How do you plan to keep your momentum?
CEO: “Because we’re first movers in this market niche, we truly believe that the key to our long-term success is going to come from pushing the window of innovation even further and we’re working on several innovative and exciting products that we plan to roll out in the next six months.”
Echo Rep:”What he’s saying really is that because we are the established market leaders, we’re going to continue to strive for future success by being the leaders of the pack. And in keeping with that leading edge we’re working on several hip products to be released in the Spring.”
Here’s another simple example:
CEO: What color is my parachute? I would say if tested, it would be blue.
Echo Rep: What he means is that if he had to choose a color, and mind you we don’t want those who like the other primary colors to feel left out, but if he had to pick a color it would be blue.
As a journalist, I can’t even count how many hours of phone conversations I’ve had to spend enduring the echo effect. Nor can I describe how frustrating it is when a simple five minute phoner turns into fifteen minute phoner all because of the Echo Rep.
My advice to you is to leave the echo behind. There’s no reason you can’t tackle any question tossed to you with confidence and strength. No one knows your company better than you!