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What are Gummie Bears?

At Louis Karno & Company, we tell our clients that Key Messages are like Gummie Bears:

  • They are bite-sized (short, easy to speak)

  • They are sweet (your key messages should say positive things about your organization)

  • They are sticky (not only are they easy for you to remember, but they are memorable to your key audiences).

Making Gummie Bears…

To get started, consider asking these questions of your staff, board, and partners:

  1. How do your messengers describe you?

  2. Who are your target audiences?

  3. What do these target audiences believe that supports your objectives?

  4. What will you say about your organization to your target audiences?

  5. What is your usual "stump speech" regarding our organization?

  6. When asked to briefly introduce our organization to others, what do you say?

  7. How do people react? Do they ask follow-up questions? Do they get it? Do you have a hard time keeping them engaged?

  8. Does the message you use change depending on the audience (community members/funders//staff, etc)? If so how?

Media Interview Do’s and Don’ts


  • Look the interviewer in the eye—make a connection.

  • Have a one-sentence message that you can communicate in 10-20 seconds or less, no matter what is asked.

  • Talk in complete sentences, using words the public will understand.

  • Offer information you want the public to know, even if the reporter doesn’t ask.

  • Project a calm, alert, positive body posture by standing or sitting still and using comfortable, appropriate gestures.


  • Never say, "No comment." Instead, whenever possible explain why you can’t answer a question.

  • Never speculate outside your area of expertise, purview or known facts. Instead, tell the reporter you won’t speculate and then bridge to your messages.

  • Don’t let a reporter get away with misstatements. Politely correct them before you answer the question.

  • Don’t "over answer" a question by volunteering information.

  • Don’t feel compelled to fill in silent pauses (that’s the reporter’s job).

  • Don’t use jargon, highly technical terms, acronyms or abbreviations.

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