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How To Be An Awesome Spokesperson


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How To Be An Awesome Spokesperson

  1. 1. HOW TO BE AN AWESOME SPOKESPERSONFollow these simple tricks and rather re-word the main your guard down, they’lltips and you’ll look like the com- idea/theme of that mes- fire hard questions atpany rock star! sage to fit the answer. you like a game of paint- • Building bridges - If it ball (ouch!). You’ll be-• Whatchya talkin’ about doesn’t seem like there’s Willis? If you don’t know an opportunity to work in what it is you want to com- any of your key messages municate then what the directly from the question heck are you doing talking you’ve been asked, then to people?! Develop three transition to it: start by key messages (no more – answering the question it’s ‘scientifically proven’ and then work in some- come flustered and go that people have a hard thing like “The most im- off message – or worse, time remembering more portant thing to remem- say something you’ll re- than that) you want to ber, however is gret. Whether genuinely communicate to your audi- [message].” or “…and that friendly or not, keep the ence. relates to ________”, etc. relationship professional• Lather, rinse, repeat. Re- • This isn’t Facebook— and stay on message. peat your messages as You’re not making friends • Don’t speak jargonese – many times as you can in – Some journalists will ac- Unless you are present- your interview/speech/ tually be friendly and help- ing to a group of widget what have you - without ful (after all it’s a symbiotic buyers and sellers and relationship: you help a you sell widgets, use journalist get a good story everyday, plain old Eng- this time, and you’ll likely lish words. Nothing be sought out as an makes people tune out ‘expert’ for the next. You faster than someone get exposure as an expert/ droning on in a language sounding too crazy. Try to leader in your field and Alba Public Relations work one of them into your company/ PO Box 90047 every response. This organization gets earned Huntingdon, Québec J0S 1H0 doesn’t mean using the [read: free!] media), but same sentence over and others will have a hidden Phone: 450.370.8357 over; agenda: as soon as you let Fax: 450.264.8284 E-mail: © 2011—Alba Public Relations
  2. 2. HOW TO BE AN AWESOME SPOKESPERSON they can’t understand and this includes industry-speak. General audiences read and listen at a grade 7 / age 12 level so don’t let the language create a barrier between you, them and your message.• Fireworks first, fizzle after – Catch your audience’s attention by answering questions with the most important and/or interesting information first, then add in more detail/context/filter down. This will also avoid the deadly ‘cut-off’ that reporters often do: the audience may never hear your best material if you bury it at the end of your diatribe when a reporter cuts you off mid-way with another question. Be as quotable – as quickly – as you can.• You’re a person, not a cardboard cut-out – Be personable and engaging. A lot of people will tend to act all stiff and overly serious mistakenly thinking this helps them seem more ‘expert’, ‘official’, ‘professional’. Passion and true emotions – within reason, of course - will win the day as will a smile. Have you ever noticed that you can tell when someone on the phone is smiling? Practice that for radio interviews.• Appearances ARE everything – For TV or live interviews dress appropriately, avoiding dizzying patterns and colours that the TV does NOT love. Relax. Don’t fold your arms – it makes you look defensive. Don’t stand at attention like you’re being inspected by the General. Don’t fidget like you have to go to the bathroom. Also, if you feel defensive your body language will convey defensiveness.• What’s that sonny? – For radio interviews, enunciate and speak clearly into the microphone. For TV, raise your voice’s volume level a few notches; TV tends to have a ‘muting’ effect so speak louder than you would normally.• The big no-no – Never, ever say ‘no comment’. You will succeed only in looking incredibly guilty. Rather, you should say something like, “We don’t have that information/those numbers/etc. right now, but I’ll be happy to get those to you as soon as they’re available’ – and then DO.• A negative and a negative do not make a positive – Maybe in math they do, but repeating a nega- tively formed question from a journalist will only reinforce that negative. Example: “Isn’t this going to ruin the environment?” don’t say “No it won’t ruin the environment”. Instead say something like, “We have in fact received the approval of the [Ministry of Environment] for this project…”• Verbal stumbles – Practice avoiding detours like ‘um’ ‘ah’ ‘you know’, etc. It’s often just a nervous re- action, but be aware of it. Go forth and be awesome. © 2011—Alba Public Relations