Become a Better Spokesperson with 9 Tips

In my full-time job after graduation I am looking forward to joining a national financial services company (my ideal starting place to capitalize on the information I have also learned in business school!) as a coordinator for company-wide communications. One responsibility of my department is to prepare executives for speaking to the public – whether through investor meetings, conferences, interviews, etc. Although I most likely will not be the lead person for these tasks immediately, I have been trying to read articles that I think will pertain to my job and help me assist my supervisor as best as possible.

In an article by Brad Phillips on his blog MrMediaTraining.com, I learned “Nine Things New Spokespersons Need to Know” – and they’re really good!

1. Develop a message – Know what you want to communicate and prepare your three most important phrases or sentences.
2. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. – Articulate at least one of your messages in every answer (not verbatim though).
3. Transition – Bridge from the reporter’s question to your message with phrases such as “The most important thing to remember is…” or “Well, what we’re seeing here is…”
4. Don’t make a new friend – The moment you get comfortable and start thinking the reporter is your friend, you’re going to venture away from your message and make a mistake. They may be nice, but they’re not your friend.
5. Speak everyday English – Don’t use big, jargon-filled words, especially when speaking with general audiences.
6. Don’t bury your lead – Give the most interesting part of your answer, aka your “lead,” first. If you have additional time, you can go back and provide more context.
7. Be your most engaging self – Gesture, convey warmth, and smile when appropriate.
8. Speak 10 percent louder than usual – This will help you sound less monotone and helps animate your body language.
9. Watch your tone – If you feel defensive, you will look defensive. Don’t greet tough questions with panic, welcome them as opportunities to correct the record.

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