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Choosing a Media Spokesperson

Think it doesn’t matter who delivers your company’s message during a crisis? Think again.

Do you recall BP’s spokesperson saying that he’d like his life back while the people of New Orleans continued to suffer?

How about a Toyota executive, reading a statement off of a piece of paper, during their massive Prius recall? (I believe that he was also speaking Japanese. The clip that I saw on the news was translated by an anchor.)

Or maybe you caught Tiger Woods’ robotic, over-rehearsed “news conference” ?

All of these “performances” hurt the company and/ or brand involved. And much of the damage could have been avoided if they’d been smart about choosing a media spokesperson, who had received media training.

Process of Choosing a Media Spokesperson

Step One: Identify someone NOW within your company, who performs well under pressure and thinks well on her feet. Don’t wait for a crisis. Be proactive.

Step Two: Get media training/ crisis communications training for that person. In fact, train a few people. In my experience, there’s usually at least one person within an organization who is unexpectedly good.

Step Three: Watch the video of everyone who receives media training. Who delivered the messages the best? Who looked most comfortable on-camera? Was there someone that people would relate well to and would like? Who was unflappable? Who always looked calm and in control?

Languages

If your brand is popular around the world, make sure that you have spokespeople that can speak every language in your international markets. I’d recommend that the person be from the country/ region if possible. People instinctively place greater trust in those that they believe understand them and their culture, and by extension, their crisis.

Lastly, work on a crisis communications plan BEFORE there’s a crisis. Involve your spokespeople. Make sure they understand their role during a crisis.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about crisis comms, check out our other crisis communications blogs.

For more information about choosing a media spokesperson or our crisis communications programs, please contact us. We’d be delighted to customize a program that fits your exact needs.

Ways to Work With Us

While we are based in Chicago, we often travel to both coasts to work with executives. We also offer online coaching for those who prefer to work with us remotely.

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