We, as communication professionals, often serve as the mouthpiece for our associated organisations which makes our profile a serious contributor in building the image of our organisation. A good spokesperson is vital to any organisation wanting to safeguard its reputation, and communicate effectively with its stakeholders, clients and the media.
Every organisation must ensure its spokesperson is well trained and responsible. Any wrong communication can lead to potential damage to an organisation. A well-trained, seasoned spokesperson positions the brand in sync with the organisation’s mission and strategy. Often the organisations are asked to comment on critical issues hence it becomes important for the spokesperson to maintain their composure and the brand integrity.
A spokesperson is supposed to enhance the reputation of the organisation. They may feel in a certain way about an issue but what is important is how they convey key messages in response to queries from customers or from media. They need to be calm and positive, and should also sound honest.
A spokesperson should be accessible and should share correct information about the organisation in a measured and concise way. If they become aggressive, much damage gets done. They need to depict the brand’s values, message and mission. They must be well aware of the facts, be authentic and confident. Sticking to the key messages gives them a greater strength.
A credible spokesperson is in control of any situation. He/she thinks about all the questions they could be asked and develops answers in advance. Most importantly, they do not avoid any question which attaches a lot of authenticity to them.
A seasoned spokesperson knows that their job is to reduce information to its most essential parts, and to simplify it. They also are aware that they are not supposed to say everything and divulge all information. But at the same time, keeping these limitations, they should be capable of delivering a credible message.
It is also important to understand that some spokespersons are gifted orators but all of them are not that well-gifted with this characteristic. The fact however is that the natural orators do not necessarily make great spokespersons. Surprisingly, some of the best ones feel that this is the result of hard work and helpful training.
Training is essential to grow into a spokesperson. A good spokesperson must be willing to hear critique – both positive and negative – on their ability to clearly deliver key messaging and provide credible and helpful information.
The ideal spokespeople keep themselves abreast with their subject matter and are attuned to the world and news impacting that particular subject. It is imperative to have an in-depth understanding of their particular industry and the other relevant ones. They should also be capable of putting that into the global context.
To be an effective spokesperson, one must always take time out and be flexible. They should be receptive to the fact that media operates on a 24/7 cycle that often has to meet last minute deadlines. It is important that spokespeople take out time to participate in important media opportunities.
They should be able to judge which concise and interesting statements would make for good quotes in print and on electronic platform. This shouldn’t be done with the objective to make it sensational but rather with the goal of delivering information in an interesting and relatable manner.
In the light of all that has been said above, organisations must be extremely careful while choosing their spokesperson. Once selected, there should be a continuous evaluation of their key attributes, continuous and open dialogue and a consistent working with the identified one. This helps in setting the stage for continued growth and success.