Spokesperson’s Do’s and Don’ts
You’ve gone through all the questions and prepared yourself to speak on behalf of your company. However, when the actual day comes, do you know exactly what you should, or should not do during the media briefing?
As a spokesperson, it is extremely important to be fully aware of how to conduct yourself during a media interview. You need to be alert, focused, and most of all, be clear during the interview.
What a spokesperson should do…
Be friendly and polite
Like attracts like, and no one wants to spend too much time with nasty or gloomy people. Of course, a lot of people prefer to hang around with courteous and cheerful personality. The same applies to the relationship between journalists and spokespersons. Those that are good at building relationships find it easier to relate than those who don’t. Needless to say, you need to have essential communication skills to be an effective communicator.
Case in point, a spokesperson that’s rude, arrogant and possibly bad at timekeeping, will find it hard to secure interviews. Some journalists might be hesitant to ask for an interview owing to unpleasant previous experiences they may have had with the person in question.
Do not provide fake information. If you do not have the facts at hand, be honest and inform them that you may need to research on a particular question and you will get back to them with accurate information. Being honest makes you a credible source of information.
The reverse, however, is also true, lies and exaggerations work against you, making you unreliable. Being truthful and honest will boost your reliability and position you and your organization as the go-t0 source of information. It will also improve your interaction with the media.
Learn how to give in-depth answers
Even as you keep your answers short, learn to give a ‘why what’ answer. Explain the ‘why’ of the question first, and then bring the answer closer home by expounding its relevance and ‘how’ it will impact the industry.
Respond to challenging questions by giving progress that has been achieved over time, and use it as a reflection of where the company hopes to go moving forward.
Ask and clarify questions, just in case you did not hear it properly. Seeking clarification will help steer you away from awkward situations. Save yourself from becoming the laughing stock when you answer something totally different from what you had been asked.
What a spokesperson should not do…
Do not show up without notes
No matter how well versed you are in your area of expertise, it is always a good idea to carry notes on the topic being discussed. A piece of pen and paper to jot down additional questions is also a great way of saying that you are listening to those interviewing you. Quickly glancing at some of the points jotted down helps jog your memory during the interview. It also helps maintain your thought process when answering questions.
Do not speak ill of your competition
No matter what is going on with your competition, never speak negatively about them in a press conference. It is simply unethical.
Never go off the record
Even when notebooks are put down and recorders are turned off, never speak off the record. Anything you say, can and will be used against you, so save yourself from trouble, and treat the interview with professionalism to the very end.
Knowing what to do and what not to do during a media interview should be part of your overall media strategy. This will not only help you cultivate a win-win situation with the fourth estate it will also help you and your organization connect with the right audience.
To help you develop the required poise and confidence necessary to successfully carry out interviews, get in touch with our team today.