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The Spokesperson: A Key Role in an Organization

By Carlos Mateos - CM Consultores en Comunicación
Director General


By Carlos Mateos | Director General - Wed, 05/10/2023 - 15:00

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The figure of the spokesperson has not always been well understood; they have been perceived as experts in evading difficult questions and for speaking without saying much.  The reality is that the spokesperson plays a very important role within organizations as he/she is the one who contributes to communicating effectively with the different audiences of a public or private institution.

The spokesperson is not only the person who gives interviews to the media, but also represents the organization to the public.

The person charged with the responsibility of the spokesperson of an organization is key to the development of the communication strategy and this, in turn, is key to the achievement of business objectives. Therefore, the spokesperson's role is strategic and should fall on the C Suite executives. 

When we say that the spokesperson function is much broader than the relationship with the media, we mean that nowadays, the spokesperson must convince, align, explain and personify the leadership of the organization to a large number of audiences or to the public, including the community in which it operates, investors, consumers, authorities, legislators, employees and, of course, the media. 

Normally it is thought that the spokesperson of an organization is the director or vice president of communications or corporate affairs, and while this is correct, it is important to consider that there are different levels of spokespersons. For example, the company's CEO is the natural spokesperson of the company, in charge of sharing the vision, values and direction of the organization with all the audiences that have an interest in its activities. Likewise, it is the leader who is responsible for convincing and aligning the entire organization in order to achieve the objectives that have been set. 

Similarly, the CFO is the spokesperson before the specialized audiences, whether analysts, investors or journalists specialized in the subject. 

On the other hand, the director of a business unit is the spokesperson responsible for sharing with all audiences the messages and objectives of that unit while refraining from commenting on other business units. 

As can be seen, these are functions that today are inherent to any leadership position within organizations and their optimal functioning depends on a solid communication strategy as well as on permanent coordination and teamwork. 

Therefore, the corporate communication area has the enormous responsibility of keeping the basic materials up to date,  such as key messages, vision, mission and values of the organization, as well as the continuous preparation of the different spokespersons and the flow of communication between the various teams of the organization to avoid errors of interpretation or public contradictions that may affect the reputation of the organization. In other words, the person responsible for the communication of an organization plays the role of an orchestra conductor, whose symphony results in the effective transmission of the personality, values and virtues of his organization to all the audiences that have an interest in it. 

However, regardless of the type or level of spokesperson within the organization, spokespersons must meet certain fundamental characteristics for optimal performance. 

To begin with, being a good communicator is one of the fundamental leadership skills and in this sense, any person who seeks to grow within his or her organization must keep in mind that he or she needs to be a good spokesperson.

Clearly an indispensable skill for this role is having a sociable nature and having the ability to articulate language. 

However, many other skills are required, such as an analytical capacity that allows you to read the external context and to be able to interpret the implications that this context has for your own organization and its context. 

They must have a deep understanding of their organization, its history, business plan and objective, as well as an absolute mastery of key messages and communication strategy. 

The spokesperson, by definition, is a disciplined person who, prior to any interaction with any of his audiences, prepares himself; he sets an objective for the communication exercise he will have to face, studies the environment in which the exercise will take place, analyzes his audience and their information needs, as well as the most appropriate language to convey his message and the appropriate clothing for the meeting. 

Another indispensable element that the spokesperson must have is the control of his emotions, since in his professional performance he will have to face several adverse situations that will require a great temperance of character to stay in the role of ambassador of his organization. We have seen multiple examples of public people who have lost their temper during an interview or public event, resulting in a high cost to their personal reputation and to the reputation of the organization they represent. 

All of the above may seem overwhelming to an executive who has received an appointment for which these skills are required. The good news is that all of these skills can be acquired through training and study. In this, they will find great satisfaction and professional fulfillment because the ability to communicate with clarity and to unite wills to achieve a common goal is that of great leaders

Photo by:   Carlos Mateos

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