It has got to be the most frequently asked question by clients when preparing for media interviews. There appears to be a huge amount of confusion about what it actually means and plenty of apprehension about the consequences of telling a journalist anything in confidence.

So here is a background briefing on speaking off-the-record.

Firstly what does it mean? The trouble is that it can mean two very different things. If there’s confusion about which form of off-the-record is being used, then inevitably it will end in tears – not the journo’s.

It's always a relief to finish a phone interview but rather than the end of it - that's when the real work begins. Here is some background to what goes on after a phone interview which is often referred to as a 'phoner'.

Phoners: Ring your consultant as soon as you hang up.

Don't delay. Your consultant has worked hard to arrange this interview and their credibility is on the line as much as yours. The next best thing to being there with you is to call your consultant the minute you hang up. Your consultant is a media expert who can gauge, not only how your interview went, but will be alert to any discord or miscommunications that you may not be aware of. Consultants can rectify any miscommunication, but only in the moment – not half an hour later when the journo has already written the piece.

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