Who should be your media spokesperson? In this series of blogs, we have reviewed the argument for the CEO serving as the spokesperson and the PR person serving as the media spokesperson.
Consider option 3: Should a Variety of People Should Serve as Your Media Spokespeople?
A subject matter expert, with proper media training, can be a great spokesperson. In fact, an expert in the subject is often the most credible with the media and the audience.
Numerous people should be media trained as spokespeople, with each ready to go when called upon.
In a crisis, the PR person should speak during the first hour of the crisis, as explained in our previous article. By the end of the second hour of the crisis, a subject matter expert should serve as the spokesperson. If needed, the subject matter expert can remain the spokesperson if the crisis is ongoing. The final news briefing of the day may be the best time to feature the CEO as spokesperson, as explained in our previous article.
Think of your spokesperson selection process the way sports teams operate. You have stars and strong people on the bench, ready to step in as needed.
Media training helps identify your star players and secondary players. Most of all, never let anyone speak without intense training. Media play hardball. Don’t send out an untrained person with little league skills.
Train your CEO. Train your PR expert. Train multiple subject matter experts. The number of experts you train is based on the type of organization you represent. A hospital, for example, could have multiple doctors from multiple fields, as well as one or two nurses. An electric company could train multiple supervisors and line workers, as well as someone who is an energy conservation expert.
The key to effective media training is to help these subject matter experts learn to put their daily jargon aside and learn to speak at a level that a sixth grader could understand. This is especially true for persons with an analytical mind, who have a propensity to focus on tiny, technical details, rather than focusing on the big pictures.
Who will be your media spokesperson?
About the author: Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC (Jared Bro) is a media training and crisis communications plan expert. He has helped organizations on 5 continents. Braud is the author of Don’t Talk to the Media Until… 29 Secrets You Need to Know Before You Open Your Mouth to a Reporter. www.braudcommunications.com