Jerry Seinfeld once said that death was people’s number two fear, preceded by the fear of public speaking. Just think about it, death is number two most dreaded thing after addressing a bunch of people in a more or less formal setting.
Regardless of whether this is accurate or not, it still says a great deal about public speaking, which can be extremely uncomfortable to many people. Add a TV camera, and the word “recording” magically manifests itself, turning this already not-so-comfy experience into something downright terrifying.
This is exactly why having a well-trained company spokesperson is essential for any firm that might have to respond to journalist questions or come out with important statements. Whether the issue being addressed is complicated or simple, it should be addressed correctly in order to get the message across and create a solid, consistent PR image. When the brand’s reputation is at stake, this is the only way to do it right.
Being Ready When the Media Comes Calling
Because PUNCH Canada specializes in media and presentation training, we are amazed by the number of brands that should be using a trained spokesperson. Every single one of the top PR firms in Toronto will tell you that training a person for this job is not only crucial.
Our own proprietary media training programs have turned out many successful spokespeople who have done magic for the brands they represented. Our program contains advice on how to prepare concise, strong messages to support the brand. To give you an idea of how a spokesperson works, here are 10 components of a successful media interview:
- Prepare. A spokesperson should know what the interview is going to be about.
- There is no taking back statements. You don’t know when the microphone is on. And even if it’s off, people are still listening. Everything is “on the record”.
- Develop short, powerful key messages that are easy to memorize, and stick to them.
- Keep your message honest, ethical and credible, that are factually correct.
- Know who your audience are and speak in their language.
- Respect the journalist’s deadlines.
- Be attentive to questions. Answering incorrectly may be interpreted as evasiveness.
- Make sure to correct false assumptions or statements immediately.
- Don’t offer negative commentary about competition, or mention them at all. Focus on your brand.
- There is no such thing as “no comment”. You should always have something to say (see point 1).
Want to know more, or wish to work with one of the top PR firms in Toronto? Please contact Managing Partner Jeff Lake at email@example.com for all your media and presentation training needs. A former newspaper editor, Jeff has trained hundreds of executives.