Three things to consider when you decide to train potential spokespeople for your project or organization. Selecting multiple team members is a strategic decision.
First – anyone who is involved in a given situation may become a spokesperson, whether or not they were prepared for that situation.
Second – subject matter experts are often more credible and helpful than a communications professional.
Third – confidence built through media training carries over to any opportunity to communicate facts or to counter misinformation.
During media training – the desired outcome is to have a spokesperson ready to represent the organization or project in good as well as not so good scenarios. Think about it the way successful companies cross train people to be able to cover when their colleagues are unable to do the work. In a situation where immediate response has more impact and value than a delayed one the more people prepared and confident enough to address the media or community is a huge advantage.
Although I am a PR professional I know that when I make a statement around complex subject matter I cannot meet expectation if questions are going to be a part of the situation. Training subject matter experts to feel comfortable speaking on their area of expertise removes the middle man and creates a stronger level of credibility.
I love to teach media relations and communications skills and during the sessions its so gratifying to hear from learners that they will be using their new skills in a presentation to the senior leaders in their organization or as an expert witness during a court appearance. Feeling prepared and confident and knowing the process of effective communications is a very positive outcome that can reflect on all team members and the leaders who invest in the training.