The Three A’s that make a Great Spokesperson
“The Three A’s that make a Great Spokesperson” blog written by Bridgid Nzekwu, Head of Media Training at TNR, part of the Press Association.
When I think of great spokespeople, the ones who are most skilled at captivating an audience and getting their message across, certain qualities come to mind immediately and these are attributes we hone and develop in delegates attending TNR Media Training courses and workshops. One of the great privileges of being a Media Trainer at the Press Association, is that all sorts of people, from every field imaginable, trust us to analyse and enhance their performance, so they can become the most effective and confident advocate possible for their charity, business, service or industry. No matter who they are, or what level of competence they have, they need to develop what I call “The Three A’s of being a great spokesperson”. They need to be Articulate, they need to be Authentic and they need to have Authority.
This is the most fundamental requirement in a spokesperson and is a combination of clear articulation (measured delivery, engaging intonation and clear pronunciation) and messaging (making points with clarity and precision; providing compelling evidence, examples or explanations). TNR’s combination of voice and body language coaching with key message techniques are highly effective in transforming a nervous or inexperienced public speaker’s performance, as well as adding polish to the more experienced delegates who come to us for advanced training.
Every speaker has their own distinct style and personality but authenticity goes beyond just “being yourself”. TNR trainers help delegates to find the part of themselves that can empathise and connect with the reader, listener or viewer, so the audience wants to listen and can relate to what is being said and the person saying it. We encourage spokespeople to draw on their personal experience, steer clear of the kind of jargon used in press releases and reports and also put key messages into their own words rather than repeat business mantras or clichés.
It’s never enough to just “know your stuff”. Authority is also about confidence and credibility. Some spokespeople are blessed with natural authority but for those who aren’t, it’s a question of adopting the qualities of an authoritative speaker. Learning how to project confidence, even when feeling nervous or fearful, is one of the most useful things we teach in media training and delegates frequently tell us it’s perhaps the most valuable aspect of the training, as it can be used in so many other contexts, for example, job interviews. Credibility depends not just on being knowledgeable but also looking and sounding as though you really mean what you’re saying.
Bridgid Nzekwu is Head of Media Training at TNR, part of the Press Association. For more information about our media training courses or to book one, contact us at: Hello@wearetnr.com or visit our website: www.wearetnr.com/media-training