Crisis management: 5 tips for choosing the right spokesperson

by | Jul 26, 2017 | Crisis Communications, Public Relations

When a crisis hits, the last thing you should be doing is arguing behind the scenes about who is the best fit to speak with the public. Choosing the right spokesperson for your crisis is not just an option, it is absolutely necessary. Your spokesperson is a representation of your company, sometimes taking attacks and criticism, and you need someone who can handle it with grace. The phrase, “No comment,” or issuing a blanket statement can hurt more than it can help, so it’s important to have someone available who can speak on your behalf.

What does a great spokesperson look like?

First, your spokesperson would typically not be the CEO or owner of the business, but that’s not always the case

We recommend identifying a handful of people who can speak to different types of topics. For example: If the crisis involves a marketing campaign, your Vice President of Marketing is a good spokesperson option alongside the CEO. If the crisis involves your CEO or owner, it’s best to keep them on the back burner for the time being and involve legal counsel or the COO as your spokesperson instead.

You will want to choose someone (or a group of people) who has great communication skills, confidence and a positive personality

Someone who can connect with people easily and who is sincere and transparent during interviews and who has also experienced extensive media training.

You will also want to choose someone who has expertise in the crisis matter

If it is a technological issue, say a computer virus, you’d want someone who has technology experience to be able to explain the issue and the steps moving forward.

You’ll want your spokesperson to look professional, organized and put together

Remember, they’re representing your brand. You’ll want them to look trustworthy and approachable (there are actually studies done on what physical characteristics people have that cause others to consider them trustworthy.)

This is a good place to reiterate that media training is a must

You can have someone who has all of the above characteristics but freezes in front of the camera or mumbles when the spotlight is on them. They can be well spoken but might not know how to field questions, or how to anticipate what reporters will ask. It’s always helpful to do a run-through or hold mock interviews to prepare a crisis spokesperson for the media.

Do you have other tips on choosing a crisis spokesperson? Share them with us in the comments.

Daily PR Updates

Essential PR industry news, opinion, and analysis delivered to your inbox daily.

Jamie Hooker
Jamie Hooker is an Assistant Account Executive at Snackbox’s Austin, Tex. HQ.


The reincarnation of blogs—and new opportunities for marketers

The reincarnation of blogs—and new opportunities for marketers

Although there may be disagreement about when blogging was born, one thing is clear. Blogging has been reincarnated and the pandemic deserves a lot of credit for it. The best guess is that blogging got its name in the early to mid-1990s. The 7th Annual Survey of...

4 ways a smart public relations strategy can increase sales

4 ways a smart public relations strategy can increase sales

Are you looking for effective ways to connect your product or service with the customers who need it? Of course you are; otherwise, you wouldn't be in business! Many small business owners rely on tried-and-true marketing techniques, but this is only one piece of the...