By F+A Staff

The importance of finding a credible spokesperson

According to a study published in Public Relations Journal, a spokesperson’s title is less important than perceived credibility when responding to a crisis.

The media and the public respond favorably to compelling, energetic and trustworthy spokespeople.

Throughout our many years of media training experience, we’ve found most participants fit into two groups – confident and tentative. The good news, for both groups, is that these traits are common to the best media spokespeople, and even the most tentative can learn.

If your organization is working to identify or groom a spokesperson, keep these qualities in mind:

  • Authentic: The media, and audience, can tell that the spokesperson is genuine and believes in his or her message.
  • Natural: The public perceives the spokesperson as being the same on-camera as off, exhibiting the same passion, demeanor and values in private and public conversations.
  • Flexible: Being adaptable to change – whether it’s breaking news, technical issues or the availability of new information – and taking everything in stride.
  • Self-editing: The ability to simplify a message down to its most essential parts without saying everything, since doing so can complicate the message and confuse the audience.
  • Compelling: Use of stories, statistics and sound bites to make a message stand out.