How to Be Flawless In a Press Conference Like An NBA Commissioner


NBA Commissioner Handles Himself Like a True PR Pro When Answering Questions About Donald Sterling's Lifetime Ban from NBA

Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, was absolutely near flawless at the press conference today to announce Donald Sterling's lifetime ban from the Clippers and anything related to the NBA. Oh, that and the fact that he was fine $2.5 million, the maximum allowed by the NBA.

For starters, the first thing he did when he got to the microphone was to apologize for starting the press conference late. Generally, no one does that. They don't care if they are late. But Mr. Silver did. He was sensitive to the fact that reporters were waiting (albeit not a very long time), so he acknowledged being tardy. That's not just nice, that's professional courtesy. Score one for Mr. Silver (no pun intended).

Second, he stated what the situation, provided some background, what he did when he heard the audio recording, and the action he took after that. He expressed his personal feelings but didn't belabor the point and get on his soapbox. Bravo, Mr.Silver. Another point score.

Instead he outlined very clearly what punishment would be meted out after confirmation that the voice on the audio recording was Mr. Sterling's and the subsequent deliberation that followed. Mr. Silver's tone was even keel the entire time, no strong damnation in his voice as he announced the lifetime ban from the Clippers organization and the NBA, and the fine. 

Third, after that he took questions from the audience and this is the part where Mr. Silver was on fire! He was absolutely spot on when it came to making eye contact with the reporter, and responding directly and succinctly. He didn't waver, he didn't stutter. He knew what he was going to say and he said it. 

And the best part: He didn't elaborate or add more information to his answer. Perfect. Mr. Silver. So often, when there's a pause between the questions and answers, interviewees feel like they have to fill up the "dead air." When that happens, hoo boy! But he didn't fall into that trap. Rather, he went on to listen to the next question and give his response. 

In all my professional career in public/media relations, I think this is one of the best examples of how to conduct a great press conference. This is definitely one for the books. 

Finally, a shoutout to the NBA communications team who I assume assisted in some way with Mr. Silver's remarks. You done good, my PR peeps.

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