POSTED BY Chris Johnson

How to be an effective media spokesperson

How to be an effective media spokesperson

When you step into the role of media spokesperson, it is full of challenges and pitfalls that could prove costly. But rather than viewing the dangers, it should be seen as the land of opportunity that can take your organisation forward to enhance its brand and reputation.   Press and broadcast coverage in the media is one of the most powerful ways to build your professional reputation—and showcase your organisation.   What makes an effective media spokesperson?   It is crucial that you know your organisation, exactly what it does and how. You need to know your people and who are the experts that you may need to work with quickly when that call from the media arrives.   You need to know the media that are most important to your organisation and to proactively build a relationship with them, so that you are able to get the best out of the good stories as well as the bad.   A key attribute that is important is to be cool under pressure. When that media call arrives on a difficult issue, keep to the company script and don’t waiver - realise that any slip could be interpreted the wrong way.   Responding at speed is essential. If you get a reputation for quick and helpful answers you’ll soon gain the reputation for being that ‘go to’ person. As much as gaining first-class coverage, it can also be the means to nip in the bud a crisis situation.   If there is a crisis, you need to strike a balance of honesty and being economical with the truth.  One water company chose to hide a chemical infusion into its supply and met with an almighty court case, while another in a similar situation was upbeat, positive and honest about the situation to let the public know quickly so that preventative measures could be taken. That is a valuable approach to take.