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Being interviewed by the media? Be sure to ask 'What Would Steve Fisher Do?'

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David Oates

Like any respectable San Diego State alum, I'm ecstatic over how well the men's basketball team is playing and surprising everyone, including even those who are regular attendees to Montezuma Mesa for the home games.

I'm thrilled as a fan for sure, but as a PR practitioner, I'm just as excited that folks are able to get reacquainted with legendary coach Steve Fisher. For as he makes his way back to the national spotlight, he shows what a master he is at the media interview. Fisher is not very charismatic or gregarious, but he's certainly got a way about him that corporate executives should take note and follow. There are several positive tactics Fisher when on camera or conducting a phone interview, including these three:

* Stick to key messages. Keep an eye on how Fisher answers questions in this ESPN live interview, always with the mindset of bringing home specific points about the team's focus and dedication to the next task at hand as well as the strong fan student body support that his staff and players have enjoyed this year. Those are key aspects of his program that he emphasizes at every turn, and I rarely see him miss a chance to express it.
* Think before you speak. Though perhaps a bit awkward to others, Fisher ensures that he takes a moment to pause before he answers a question. Controlling an interview without coming across condescending or inconsiderate is an art form that takes time and practice to master, and Fisher has done so over his forty-plus years of coaching.

* Be yourself. If you didn't know before seeing him speak that Fisher was born and raised a Midwesterner, you'd certainly know it from one of his media interviews. His matter-of-fact, low-key style is not one you find often coming from coaches of Southern California schools. But Steve's style is genuine and sincere. He knows that coming across otherwise would be disingenuous and - more important - less effective.

Rest assured, no matter how the Aztecs finish up the year, I'll be a loyal watcher of their games both for the players' conduct on the court and their head coach's continued master of the interview off it.

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