PR guidelines for choosing the spokesperson role wisely
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said, “Speak clearly, if you speak at all. Carve every word before you let it fall.” So, who is speaking for your company?
Your spokesperson acts as the public face for your company. It could be the CEO, a high-ranking member of your team, your public relations manager or a PR firm. With so much riding on what they say, whoever it is, the person better be good. Use these public relations tips to determine who will make the best representative(s) for your organization.
Three benefits of having a designated spokesperson:
- You create a tone for your brand.
Your spokesperson expresses your company’s personality and values. This includes not only what she says, but also her rhythm and personality. For example, does she use short, simple sentences? Is there a great amount of technical jargon?
- You convey your message of what you want to tell the world.
You only get so many chances to capture your audience’s full attention. You don’t want your message to get jumbled, misquoted or lost in the crowd.
- You have the convenience of knowing exactly who will speak to the media, potential investors or the public.
The person you choose should be able to handle interviews, speeches, public events and perhaps even media pitches. When multiple people are trying to speak at the same time, there is the possibility for mix-ups, miscommunication and missed opportunities.
Qualities of a good spokesperson
Not everyone can be the next Steve Jobs or Suze Orman, but you can learn to be comfortable and confident in front of a microphone. It is also important to remember that you can have more than one spokesperson, as long as each person’s role is clearly defined. For example, you could have one person for speaking to the media, one for appearing at public events and one for discussing technical aspects of your products, such as a chief engineer.
When selecting a spokesperson, the following qualities are essential:
- Good storytelling capability. The ability to tell a polished, interesting narrative is a helpful skill in most any situation. Carefully chosen words, along with the right timing, can influence and affect your audience.
- Social poise in front of any group. You want someone who can keep his or her cool, even under difficult media questioning or in front of large crowds. Looking uncomfortable or unsure can cast a negative light on your entire company and make it seem as if you have something to hide.
- Authenticity for your company and product. If your spokesperson doesn’t truly believe in what he is saying, no one else will either. He should know the subject matter inside and out.
- Good spokesperson training, which the right PR firm can offer. Not every great speaker is born that way; some are made.
At Axia Public Relations, we offer spokesperson training in full- or half-day sessions for CEOs, other C-suite executives, spokespeople and subject matter experts. You can do this training quarterly, annually or as needed to ensure you are always camera and microphone ready. To learn more, contact us today or watch our media and spokesperson training webinar for professional tips.
Lisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
Featured image credit: 123rf.com