Discussion Central

Expand all | Collapse all

Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

  • 1.  Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 27 days ago
    For an upcoming Career Connections column, what advice or tips would you give to someone who is stepping into the role of company spokesperson? For instance, they would be representing their company at a corporate or industry event or in front of national or local media. If you've been in this role, what worked for you?

    ------------------------------
    Loraine Kasprzak MBA
    Managing Director,Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Westfield NJ
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 27 days ago
    I've never been a spokesperson but I've been involved in projects where erroneous news coverage was a concern and I am aware of some dos and don'ts.

    Hire a media consultant and consult with them before speaking to the press or preparing press releases.  Being knowledgeable about the company you work for and being articulate does not qualify you to be a spokesperson.  Media is a thing.  We all know that some news outlets are biased.  Take this personally and expect to be misquoted and maligned unless you have a solid reason to believe you won't be.  An intention to be transparent and honest about everything does not exempt you from this.  Don't wait until things go wrong to take this seriously, because you won't get a second chance to get it right.

    When the press calls, don't talk to them.  Tell them it is not a good time and you want to get back to them.  Get their name and number.  Then go to your media consultant and see what they say about this reporter/this news outlet and find out what you need to know before calling them back (or not).

    Make sure everybody in the organization knows not to talk to the press if they call.  They should say they are busy and get the caller's name and number and then pass that info along to you.


    ------------------------------
    -Kirsten

    Kirsten Rosselot
    Process Profiles
    Calabasas, CA United States
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 26 days ago

    Kirsten,

    Excellent insights. It's clear the Media requires special handling, above and beyond just being knowledgeable about one's company.



    ------------------------------
    Loraine Kasprzak MBA
    Managing Director,Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Westfield NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 26 days ago
    Kristen,

    I agree with you about the need to understand the media in addition to "Being knowledgeable about the company you work for and being articulate."  However, there is one additional point I would make.  Namely, follow up as soon as practical.  Even if the follow up is to only give a status report, media types and others do not like to be ignored.

    ------------------------------
    T. David Griffith, Ph.D.
    Blessing (Bay City), TX
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 26 days ago
    If one is not already a member, join Toastmasters.   While they won't have specific procedures for being a company spokesperson, they will help a person practice answering questions with their "Table Topics" in addition to giving formal talks and also learning how to critique other members when they make a presentation.


    I was a member for about 8 years of one the clubs which also had several fellow employees from the Amoco Production Research Center in Tulsa.  Later, a Toastmasters Club was formed in the Research Center with company backing.

    ------------------------------
    T. David Griffith, Ph.D.
    Blessing (Bay City), TX
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 26 days ago
    Thanks David. Toastmasters is an excellent resource to get one started in public speaking, which is a good basis for becoming a spokesperson.

    ------------------------------
    Loraine Kasprzak MBA
    Managing Director,Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Westfield NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 26 days ago
    My "experience" as this goes has been to forward it on to our (far away) Press Office. I think I've had to do that once. I thought we were going to get a flood of calls after a big thing we did, which made me realize I had no idea how to do that. I think I wasted at least 15 minutes finding out contact info for both the Press and Government people.

    In my current position and duty, easily more than 99/100 possible questions I can honestly answer with "I've never had anything to do with [that], so am truthfully not any source of information."




  • 8.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 26 days ago
    Off-the-record is not off the record and anonymous is only anonymous until they no longer consider you a person of value.





  • 9.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 24 days ago
    Aside from the Media, has anyone had experience they can share as a spokesperson at Industry events, or on social media or video?

    ------------------------------
    Loraine Kasprzak MBA
    Managing Director,Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Advantage Marketing Consulting Services
    Westfield NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 21 days ago
    A few years ago I was asked to participate on a panel at an industry conference to discuss my company's approach to a new environmental regulation in the refining sector.  We went through all the steps to prepare for the including developing a presentation, getting it vetted by management, legal, SHE, etc. The trade association sponsoring the event had set out the ground rules for the panel, including time limits on comments, etc.

    The day of the event arrives and things get started just fine until one of the panelists began to just ramble on, over-running his time significantly.  The moderator of the event took no action and the rest of the panelists were left with very little time to make their comments.  In the end the preparation was a complete waste of time.

    My advice here is to ensure you understand the ground rules and how they would be enforced.  Additionally, do not count on the moderator to manage the situation and be prepared to take action to prevent one person from monopolizing the panel.

    ------------------------------
    Thomas Doolin
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Tips for becoming an effective company spokesperson?

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 21 days ago
    You have my sympathy for being put in a position that made no one look good.