It seems counter-intuitive when you have been identified as the organisation’s
spokesperson, that one of the most important aspects of the process is realising that YOU
DON’T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING!
You are the centre of attention, the subject-matter expert and the camera/recorder is on,
and accordingly so many people feel obliged to answer everything. Understanding and
appreciating that there will be occasions when you simply don’t have the information, you
don’t know the exact number, percentage or whatever is empowering for spokespeople
new to the caper.
Ok – so you’ve been identified as the organisation’s spokesperson, you’ve prepared your
message, practiced a few mock interviews with the comms team and what happens? 3-
questions in the journo asks you one you have no idea what the answer is. Perhaps you
should know, perhaps you were poorly briefed, maybe you forgot and it’s shaping as a
You will be feeling the pinch to respond as you are the spokesperson, you are the one being
asked the question – but the truth is there will be times when you simply can’t. So what do
The answer is actually quite obvious, but few (especially relatively new media spokespeople)
embrace the correct methodology. Just be frank and honest. Concede that you don’t know,
commit to finding out the information and move on. It will deflate and diminish this
potential “gocha” moment.
The worst thing you can do is “fudge” or “wing it” – words which simply don’t stand up in an
interview situation. Be frank and honest at all times and if you don’t know – just say so.
Obviously, this a response and technique which needs to be practised and refined and
remember if you’ve prepared effectively there is plenty you can say.
For more on this or for a confidential chat about your media training requirement please
don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Luke Waters 0418 147 157