Don’t Get Trapped with a False Premise


The “false premise” is well-known to media trainers and other speaking experts. However, when doing a press interview or Wall Street analyst call, it is an easy mistake to make.

What exactly is a false premise? It is a qustion that begins with a premise that the person being interviewed might not agree with. For example, “Why don’t you like the New York Yankees?” This question presumes that the person being questioned is not a Yankee fan, which is OK unless he or she is.

If the person being interviewed is, say, running for elected office in the Bronx, allowing this premise to persist might be a disaster.

So, how should one deal with such a question? Simply put, you need to dispute the premise without making the false premise the focus of the discussion — and, thus, giving it added validity.