4 Questions to ask when identifying an internal spokesperson

A strong spokesperson should be a critical component of your brand’s communications plan.  Your spokesperson represents your company’s brand and is the only face that the media, your audience and customers are going to see.

Needless to say, you’ll want to choose carefully when selecting the face of your business so as to avoid any potential reputation-damaging incidents. A strong spokesperson is always prepared for what he is going to say, knows his audience, uses real-world examples, can easily adapt when he notices his audience getting restless, and knows how to pivot when answering difficult questions.

When identifying an internal spokesperson for your business, consider the following questions:

1. Are they an expert in the industry?

In selecting a credible person for the job, you’ll want to make sure that whomever you select is well-versed with the subject matter and is comfortable with the topic that they’ll be discussing. Especially during the time of a crisis, the person speaking on the topic should be carefully vetted and well-trained.

2. Are they articulate?

This is an obvious one, but a spokesperson should be a skilled public speaker with an aptitude for eloquence. They should be able to speak well and clearly in front of large crowds and in front of media, microphones and cameras.

3. Are they relatable?

The best spokespeople are charismatic, can easily relate to others and have a sense of likability about them.

4. Do they keep their composure?

You want your spokesperson to be able to keep their composure and control their body language. Make sure that his words are not saying one thing but his face and body are saying another. When your spokesperson’s words and body language are at odds, it makes his message come off as disingenuous.

But it doesn’t stop at just identifying the right spokesperson. After you’ve selected the person who’s going to represent your brand, you’ll want to continue to train him or her on your company’s messages and address potential crises that could arise. It’s also a good idea to hold regular media training sessions to refresh your spokesperson’s interview skills.

Depending on the size and industry of your business, it’s typically recommended to have multiple spokespeople on hand in the case of a crisis or even a simple press conference. Some spokespeople have strengths in different areas—and of course expertise in different areas—and you’ll want to be sure you’re prepared when the need for a spokesperson arises. Not to mention having a group of spokespeople on the bench helps with proactive media relations efforts too.

Lindsay O'Bar

Lindsay’s work focuses on community relations, internal communications and media relations for companies like Kroger, Virginia’s Community Colleges and the Virginia Department of Transportation. By marrying research and strategic thinking, she helps clients thoughtfully engage audiences and the community while driving business results.

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