How to get your CEO on board with spokesperson training

By Lisa Goldsberry

25087671_sUse PR to explain the significance of the company spokesperson and to help you prepare

Some people think they can just walk into a media interview, answer whatever questions come up to the best of their ability and everything will be fine. Well, think again.

Your CEO may be accustomed to speaking to a room full of shareholders or consider herself an expert at giving speeches, but media interviews are different. There, you face an entirely unique set of judgment criteria. Audiences will extensively scrutinize everything from the expression on your face to how you sit or stand. It’s important for your CEO to understand the importance of making the right impression in interviews and that professional training is necessary. The following information should open her eyes and demonstrate how spokesperson training can affect your company’s profitability.

Why your CEO needs spokesperson training

Although you may have hired a PR firm or have numerous in-house PR professionals, the media and public view your CEO as your company’s chief spokesperson and the public face of the company. If that person appears to be uncertain, insecure or incompetent in interviews, that’s how the public will see your company.

Research has shown that CEOs who communicate well tend to have the best professional success and longevity. Conversely, many have watched their careers crash and burn over the wrong choice of words.

Journalists are typically interested in speaking with CEOs or other high-ranking officials of a company. When your CEO is ready and willing to speak, it will give your company a clear advantage over those with CEOs who are not.

A CEO’s visible confidence in media interviews helps to establish him as a thought-leader and your company as a go-to source in your industry. Consequently, this can lead to more and bigger media outlets showing interest in your company, providing you with tons of free publicity.

Approximately 84 percent of CEOs say media interviews are the most effective way to get the company’s message across. When consumers know who you are, it increases brand identity and encourages repeat business.

According to an Impulse Research survey of 5,000 American CEOs:

  • Nine in 10 CEOs have had media training.

  • More than 80 percent of CEOs say media training is valuable, and they listed their presidents and division heads top among those who should have media training.

What spokesperson training can provide

  • An understanding of how to retain control of media interviews

  • Guidance in controlling body language

  • Instruction on speaking clearly and confidently (no more “ums” and “ahs”)

  • An understanding of how to communicate during a crisis, which can make or break your public image

Tips for handling a media interview

  • Answer questions simply and directly.

  • Develop key points beforehand.

  • If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t say it.

  • Don’t be afraid of the media. Once you realize that they simply have a job to do, journalists may seem less intimidating.

  • Hire a PR firm for expert spokesperson training.

Media training is essential for anyone permitted to speak with the media on behalf of your company, especially the CEO. At Axia, we will assist you in conveying clear messages with our in-depth spokesperson training program, which we can individualize to meet your company’s specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about our training opportunities or to schedule an appointment for your CEO and management team.

 


Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

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Topics: Public Relations, Featured

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