It is critical to have an effective spokesperson represent your organization. He or she embodies your mission, gives a personality to your company and serves as the face of your organization.
A good spokesperson helps build support for and trust in an organization. A bad spokesperson can do irreparable damage. Some executives are naturally great spokespeople but most of us have to work at it. This is the first in a four-part series aimed at helping you understand the value of having an effective spokesperson and how to become one yourself.
What is the role of a spokesperson?
As your organization’s spokesperson, you may be called on to do any or all of the following:
- Deliver presentations and keynotes
- Proactively seek media coverage
- Respond to media inquiries (in good times and bad)
- Build and maintain relationships with investors
- Lead internal communications campaigns
- Testify in front of regulators, boards or legislative bodies
Doing any one of these poorly could damage your organization’s reputation. A consistent spokesperson who is up-to-speed on all of the company’s key messages helps ensure external messaging remains consistent and builds trust with all stakeholders.
What does the perfect spokesperson look like?
That depends on what you need, and every organization is different. For example:
- An innovative tech company may want its spokesperson to appear as confident but not cocky, and smart but not condescending, much like Elon Musk of Tesla.
- If your company or organization finds itself testifying before elected officials, you likely want an unflappable spokesperson who is knowledgeable, calm and well-spoken, like Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood.
- If your company is often in the public spotlight and needs to maintain a professional and likable persona, you will hope to find a spokesperson like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
- If you’re a spokesperson for a sports media outlet, you may want a spokesperson who can comfortably show sports expertise along with a comedic, relatable personality, much like former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee.
Remember, it’s ok to not be a great natural spokesperson as long as you’re willing to work at it. You don’t need to be right for every job, just the one you need to do.
Want to find out more about becoming a better spokesperson? Email or call me – 317-749-0337.