Volume 4, No. 10
April 6, 2009
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The Traits of a Good Spokesperson
A recent controversy in my community provides an example of why a business must be careful about who it allows to speak to the media. Taxpayer confusion regarding this tax-supported facility now exists, because a spokesperson incorrectly framed an issue in comments he made to a local reporter. In other words, he talked off the top of his head without thinking.
A good spokesperson:
Is an authority on the organization
The CEO, president, executive director, business owner, or subject area expert who knows the material inside and out. An organization's leaders should be media trained, or coached by a communications professional, if they are inexperienced at doing media interviews.
Has credibility with the audience
An individual whose opinion the audience would trust. The audience knows this person, if not by name, by job or position status, and would therefore respect his or her opinion. For example, a doctor for a health issue. A good spokesperson is also someone the audience would identify with on a personal level, such as mothers identifying with another mother.
Is disciplined when he or she speaks
As indicated in the story above , this is the most important trait. Executives can be harmful spokespersons if they don't think before they speak. Good spokespersons know what the message is before they start talking, and stay on message when they speak. They are also articulate.
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