The Six Traits Every Media Spokesperson Should Have

What qualities does a great media spokesperson have?

Over the past decade, I’ve noticed that most of the media greats share the same traits, regardless of personal style, ideology, or cause.

And here’s a pleasant surprise: you almost certainly have many of the same traits, and can probably learn the rest.

Here are six traits that most great media spokespersons share.

First, they’re authentic. The audience may not agree with their perspectives, but viewers can tell that the spokespersons genuinely believe in their own message.

Second, they’re natural. The best spokespersons are the ones the public perceives as being the same person on-camera as off, the same in a television studio as in their living rooms. They’re the spokespersons who bring the same passion to their interviews that they express privately when discussing the same topics with their friends.

Third, they’re flexible. They know that breaking news, technical issues, or a shifting storyline can change the nature of their interview with little notice. They know that rolling with the changes and displaying a touch of humor, where appropriate, will enhance the audience’s impression of them.

Fourth, they speak to their audience. They know that their function during an interview isn’t to impress their bosses or their peers, but rather to forge a direct connection with each person reading or hearing their words.

Fifth, they self-edit. Great media spokespersons know that their job is to reduce information to its most essential parts, never to “dumb down” but always to simplify. They know not to try to say everything, since doing so muddles their message and confuses their audience.

Sixth, and finally, they know to express their points in a compelling manner that helps their audience remember them. They know how to use stories, statistics, and sound bites to make their messages stand out, and are adept at coining phrases that stick in the minds of every member of the audience.

The bottom line is this: if you’re capable of energetically delivering a credible and memorable message that you genuinely believe in, the audience is likely to perceive you favorably.

What would you add to this list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.