I had the opportunity to sit in on a session by Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III during 2017 National Conference. This was my favorite session because I had the opportunity to learn how to be a more effective PR communicator, especially when it comes to difficult topics. Here are a few of the main ideas that I took away and some tips on how YOU can be a Superhero Spokesperson!
You should have control of the conversation, competency about what you are saying, and concern about the topic. These are important when planning on doing an interview, news conference, or anything else that relates to speaking in the PR field because it gives you more credibility.
When it comes to an interview. You should always prepare at least: 5 good questions/ replies, 5 bad questions/replies, and 5 ugly questions/replies. This allows you to be prepared for the interview and not be taken off guard by anything that is said. It gets you thinking about the topic too, which can lead to a much more insightful conversation. For every minute that the interview/broadcast lasts, you should prepare for one hour. This may seem like a lot, but every word is important when it comes to a five-minute interview, especially in the PR world. You are responsible for saying what it is you need to say clearly and correctly the first time.
There is an easy equation when it comes to developing a response. Information + Message = Good Response. This allows for a response to not be filled with “fluff” or anything that might be viewed as a space-filler. Say the information and message that you need to say and end it.
Many of us know basic communication skills, but just to reiterate, remember that you should always be an effective listener. Never be a selective, defensive, or pseudo listener! When it comes to speaking, always listen, pause, think, and then answer. This shows the listener that you truly care what they are saying and are thinking about the answer rather than blurting out whatever first comes into your head or using filler words such as “umm” or “like.” Finally, always remember that non-verbal skills are important. When speaking on TV or in front of people you should always keep your hands between waist and chest. Wear solid colors (nothing that distracts viewers) and drink lots of water!
The final things to remember when it comes to being a superhero spokesperson are to always tell the truth, be humble, and be accountable to your audiences. I hope this helps you on your journey throughout the PR world!