But She's Not Answering The Question! - Updated

Elizabeth JPEG By Susan Tomai

We wake up, check our smart phones, turn on the TV and maybe still collect the paper on the stoop. Instantly we’re bombarded by corporate spokespeople and politicians who obviously don’t give direct answers to certain questions from journalists.  Is that OK?  Sometimes.

For those of you who really listen, a spokesperson not answering the question is frustrating. But in a society where multitasking and limited attention spans are the norm, some spokespeople know they can get away with it because many of us don’t listen that closely.

Still, it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation – and the answer lies in what we call the “Touch and Go” technique. Rather than completely avoiding a question, the more credible spokesperson does better to briefly “touch” upon the question and then quickly “go” to an established message, without repeating the reporter’s words. The brief acknowledgement of the question is a more credible approach than simply ignoring the reporter.