You never know when news will happen and your company needs to make a public statement. Who will do the talking? So, before it becomes imperative, designate a spokesperson, designated spokesperson, someone who carries authority and has a natural ability to communicate company news in a compelling manner. Don’t assume that a spokesperson must be super-talkative or chatty. Check out the following four characteristics to select a company spokesperson who will deliver the best results.
Thought Leader: The best spokespersons are subject experts who are fluent with their subject matter. They have comprehensive and authoritative knowledge and the ability to tap into their own talent, experience and passion for the business.
Journalistic Style: An effective spokesperson will have a knack for encapsulating company messaging in sound bites with the goal of delivering information in a compelling and relatable way. Although a press interview can be lengthy, what ends up in a published story is often a very abbreviated version of what the spokesperson said. Being able to succinctly express the most important points is paramount.
Open to Coaching: The best kind of spokesperson is capable of being easily taught and is trained to do something better. This individual should be able to accept coaching and also criticism. This includes both positive and negative commentary and a constructive critique around their communication style and phrasing. In fact, each time a spokesperson speaks on behalf of the organization, it’s important to do a post-mortem to review how well s/he performed. Things to consider will include rapport with the reporter, key message replay, tone, eye contact and body language. Even for veteran spokespersons, there is always room for improvement.
24/7 Availability: The media functions in a 24/7 news cycle and that means that your company spokesperson should be readily available if and when needed to respond to last minute developments. A spokesperson must have a personal commitment to the organization as well as the ability to be flexible – even if they are traveling- and open to pre-interview preparation with their PR team and coaching.
Does your company have a spokesperson in place? What are her/his best attributes?