Choosing a spokesperson for your organization or business is an important decision. You need someone who is cool under pressure, quick to respond to media queries and able to connect with all relevant stakeholders.

During a crisis, the spokesperson becomes the face of your company, so selecting the right person is critical. But is the CEO or a department head always the right choice? Here is Red Banyan’s take on some of the most common myths about who should fill the role.

1. The CEO should always be the spokesman

As head of the company, a CEO may be too busy managing the actual elements of the crisis itself to have time to be the public information source. Fielding questions from reporters, answering email queries and handling press conferences may be too time-consuming for someone who is tasked with overseeing all company functions. Some CEOs do take a hands-on approach and want to be the source for all outgoing information but others may simply be too busy.

2. The PR person should always be the spokesman

A PR representative may be a good choice as spokesman if they can get information out quickly, are familiar with the details of the situation and know how to field media inquiries. Companies often hire someone with a background in media relations for this role because they know how to talk to reporters, can anticipate their questions, understand deadlines and talk the talk.

3. Rotate the company spokesperson

A company that uses numerous people as spokesperson runs the risk of mixed messaging. If there is a communication lapse, different spokespersons could be issuing different messages. Updates may not be given in a timely manner, and reporters may get confused if the company has too many “faces.”

It is also important that the company have an established press policy, with which all employees are familiar. Staff should be advised about how to handle incoming calls, emails or in-person inquiries from both media and personal contacts. Additional damage can be added to an existing crisis if unauthorized team members provide information to media outlets, or are not confident about how to respond when approached.

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While arguments can be made for and against each of these stances, the correct answer simply varies from one situation to another. Through its specialized crisis PR counsel, Red Banyan helps companies identify their most appropriate spokesperson and effectively navigate the numerous other challenges associated with a crisis to help minimize or repair any damage to the brand.

Spokesperson training is also an effective way to prepare your organization spokesperson for media interview, press conferences and Q&A’s.

Red Banyan is a high-stakes crisis management agency that specializes in media relations, strategic communications, reputation rehabilitation and social media.

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