Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Ego has landed

The person who talks to the media on behalf of your organisation need not be the Managing Director. Of course, reporters will often call seeking an interview with the top person, but if they are either not available (because they are managing the crisis) or are not very media-friendly (and despite hours of media training, this can still happen), then someone else has to face the cameras.

The problem is, lots of MDs feel that they should be the company spokesperson, regardless of their communication skills. Their egos won't allow them to delegate the task. Under these circumstances, you need to have a very strong communications manager. If the MD is a poor speaker, or worse, actively distrusts the media, then you need to rely on prepared statements, limit the length of interviews (on the pretext of having to manage the crisis), and brief the MD very strongly on the core message.

One company I worked with deliberately set up an interview with the MD on a local radio station, and then offered the same timeslot to the BBC. Since the MD was already in another studio, a media-savvy company spokesman handled the Beeb. I'm not sure the MD ever found out (unless they are reading this, in which case I just made that up).

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