Four Keys To Choosing A Company Spokesperson

Posted by Olin Ericksen on February 5, 2013

What does your company’s voice sound like? How does it look under the glaring lights of TV cameras? If quoted for an important article, what words would it choose? The answer is it wouldn’t, because your company isn’t human. Yet it still has a reputation to build and protect. And the success of it can depend largely on the spokespeople you select.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you choose the best spokesperson for a particular news story.

  • What is the topic? Choosing a spokesperson is like choosing the right tool for a job. Determining the tone, angle, whether it’s an announcement or response to a crisis -- among other specifics -- will help you begin to figure out who should best speak for all.
  • Who is your audience? Your spokespeople should be able to connect with your audiences, including the public, journalists and other influencers. For instance, if the story is about finances, someone who can speak intelligently about the numbers to financial reporters is important. But they also need to be able to translate the jargon to the general public and deliver messages in a way everyone can grasp. If it is an announcement that deals with a certain demographic -- perhaps multi-cultural or a certain age group, for instance -- it is ideal to choose someone who connects with the group you are trying to reach.
  • What is the medium? Is it a news story for television or print? Radio or the Internet? Someone may be excellent for a print article, but under the lights of a camera, not so much. For a print interview, if someone is put together in their appearance but can’t talk intelligently about a subject, their words might do more harm than good. Often a story is told in several mediums, so decide if you can have just one spokesperson or a couple you want to handle the message.
  • How media-savvy is your spokesperson? When choosing a spokesperson, no matter their experience level in dealing with the media or public, they should always be prepared for that specific topic. If you have the time or resources, invest in media training or a refresher course for your spokesperson, even if they are media-savvy. If not able to take on this responsibility in-house, lean on an experienced consultant to help prepare your spokespeople for whatever comes their way. Mitchell’s Center for Business, Training & Leadership Excellence, for instance, is renowned for helping even the most seasoned spokespeople up their game.

What are your keys to selecting a spokesperson for your company? Let us know in the comments below or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.