Let’s say your background and training is that of an engineer, or a sale exec, or a lawyer, or maybe an accountant, but here you are, your company has selected you to be spokesperson on a particular issue. Perhaps that issue is a pressing one and this situation has already reached high levels of intensity going in.
What do you do?
Hopefully, it’s safe to assume that you have the support of the organization from the top and into the communications function. You should expect to receive some level of guidance and coaching from your communications people.
But what, specifically, should you expect from your team and from yourself?
The first thing you need to know is what is the company’s messaging on this particular issue. Do you have a set of key message points that were developed by your public relations people on the issue? Were you part of the process to develop and fine tune those messages? And, do you have the proper support information to back up those messages?
Questions and Answers
Along with a key messaging document, you should also have a list of possible questions you may receive on the issue, along with recommended responses that are consistent with the key messages that have been developed.
Coaching and Simulation
If there is time, you should expect to receive coaching and an opportunity to simulate media interviews and other scenarios where you may be required to deliver the company’s story on the issue.
As with any big matter, no one can reasonably assume that you or any one person would have all of the answers to every question. But going in, you should know who within the organization may have some of those answers. And you should know what external resources can be accessed to help further tell the full story on the issue at hand.
These are the basics, and they apply in both crisis and non-crisis scenarios. What are your stories about the time you were tapped to be spokesperson. Let us know at @OBrienPR on Twitter.