Why Every Brand Needs A Gifted Spokesperson

Why Every Brand Needs A Gifted Spokesperson
SHARE
THIS



Anthony Caruana (pictured below) is a freelance tech and business journalist that has written for every major masthead in Australia. He’s also co-founder and CEO of Media-Wize, a media training agency helping founders and fast growth companies tell their stories. In this guest post, Caruana says with the right media training, any brand can tell a positive story…

In his part manifesto-part autobiography titled On Writing, Stephen King said that not everyone can be a brilliant writer. But with effort, everyone could be a very good writer. The same goes with being a reliable performer in front of a camera or microphone. Being a great media spokesperson may come naturally to some, but anyone can do do a good job in an interview – with the right training and preparation.

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 4.42.44 pm

We’ve all seen people crumble when they’ve been seemingly sideswiped by an unexpected question. My first direct experience of this was watching the CEO of the company I worked for eviscerated during a live TV interview. The question that stumped him was one he ought to have been prepared for and the combination of being flustered as he was unprepared and his appearance – he had a fairly wild mop of silver hair – made him look like an out-of-touch executive with little understanding of the critical infrastructure he was in charge of.

The reality was nothing like that. He was, in fact, a very competent executive who had been instrumental in creating a world-leading organisation. But, in front of the camera that night, he was severely humbled.

Preparing for a media interview is about more than simply answering a few questions on the fly. Being calm and confident requires preparation and practice. I do a regular spot on ABC radio. It’s about 30-minutes long and covers some news and responding to talkback callers. For that half-hour, where the host and I might cover three or four stories, we prepare about six with notes on the details as well as some potential questions that could come from callers. As it’s live radio and time is tight, we don’t rehearse but I spend time reviewing the content thoroughly, anticipating questions I’ll get and rehearsing my answers.

The aim is not to sound like a robot, parroting back canned responses. The aim is to reduce my cognitive load so that I can dedicate more brain power to unexpected questions. When we conduct media training with clients, one of the primary aims is to help them minimise the effort it takes to deal with the expected questions so they can dedicate more grey matter to challenging questions.

How people look in front of the camera is also critical. Beyond good grooming, posture and how it changes when you’re under pressure, tone of voice, the use of language and lots of other factors can make the difference between a great media spokesperson and a train wreck.

Fans of The West Wing will remember Toby Zeigler’s short run at being press secretary when the inimitable CJ Cregg moved into a different job. Zeigler’s lack of preparation caught him out and relegated him to the back office.

Walk into any successful business and you’ll find that there’s a budget, a marketing strategy, disaster recovery and business continuity plans and there’s training available for almost every business function.

But ask when the last time anyone did any serious media training and chances are you’ll be met with blank stares. Why is it that businesses feel they need to plan everything but when it comes to speaking publicly, on the record, to the media they think they can just ‘wing it’?

Preparing for an interview is about a lot more than just anticipating a few questions. It’s about being able to think on your feet and present a confident presence that doesn’t undermine your business. It’s about learning techniques that allow you to take a potentially attacking question and turn it into an opportunity to tell a positive story.

Opportunities to front the press and tell positive stories or add commentary to issues that are in the news is a great way to give your company prominence and be seen as a leader. Are you ready for that?

 

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Anthony Caruana

Latest News

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom
  • Technology

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom

Twitter has just experienced its fastest growth in revenue since 2014, with the social media platform benefiting from increased interest from advertisers. Revenue was up 74 per cent YoY, according to the company’s Q2 results, reaching $US1.19 billion ($1.6 billion) from $US683.4 million ($925 million) 12 months ago. The strong results came in the same […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey

Wild Turkey has announced the launch of its new global creative campaign and platform, ‘Trust Your Spirit’, featuring the brand’s creative director and spokesperson, Matthew McConaughey. The global campaign and platform ‘Trust Your Spirit’ is to encourage people to be bold, unapologetically themselves, and stay true to who they are. The global tagline and ethos […]

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign

Telecommunications company Optus has announced it will launch the world’s first TikTok sign-language activated filter. Featuring Optus ambassador Ian Thorpe, Optus will unveil a branded effect that shows TikTok users how to say key phrases in Auslan sign language, including ‘How are you?’ and ‘It starts with Yes’, through the hashtag challenge #SignYes. Optus will […]

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF
  • Campaigns

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF

Asia Pacific’s leading provider of vehicle parts, accessories, equipment, service and solutions, Bapcor will launch its latest campaign, ‘The unseen parts of every Australian journey’ this weekend.

Professional microphone in radio studio
  • Advertising
  • Media

Podsight’s Benchmark Report Shows Podcast Advertising More Effective Than Other Digital Channels

Podsights has revealed new insights into the effectiveness of advertising in podcasts, tracking global and Australian podcast advertising trends. This is the first Australian report to be published since ARN partnered with Podsights to set the standard for best-in-class podcast advertising measurement. The report includes additional analysis and follows a series of Measurement Masterclasses held for […]

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life
  • Campaigns

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life

NGEN’s 2021 charity cup has raised over $175,000 for UnLtd charity partner Gotcha4Life. Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation raising awareness and funding to provide educational workshops and innovative programs that build mental fitness in individuals and communities. While Sydney and Brisbane completed the Charity Cup in June, before Covid restrictions hit, the final leg in […]

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge
  • Campaigns

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge

Australian tech incubator Cicada Innovations and Biennale of Sydney are launching the ‘New & Sustainable Materials Challenge,’ in an effort to create a more sustainable future. The works of chosen material-makers will be showcased to millions of Biennale audiences, exhibition partners, and exhibition makers globally. The Challenge is open to any Australian and UK startups, […]