Six Characteristics of a Great Spokesperson
By Sarah Seward | Inbound Marketing Specialist
During a presentation, your technical spokesperson becomes the voice of your company. While often the person is an expert on the product or technology, they are less often comfortable or experienced telling that story to an external audience. However, the strength of your spokesperson makes a significant difference in how your company, products and services are perceived.
So, if you, or someone you know, may be called on to serve as a technical spokesperson for your company, here are seven traits that can transform a technical expert into a great spokesperson.
A great technical spokesperson:
1. Knows the Audience
When speaking to products, technologies and your expertise, it is important that you keep the audience in mind. While your wealth of knowledge is a key strength, it must be communicated effectively to be impactful.
Your audience will have different levels of knowledge. Because of this, it is important that you tailor discussion based on their knowledge level and don’t assume they know what you are talking about.
Some ways that you can tailor your messages to your audience include:
Spend more time explaining why a product specification or feature will be important to users, how it (product, approach, application, etc.) has been done before, and why your new way is better
Prepare for questions about competitors, product specifications and comparisons to alternatives
Share customer examples from the industry covered that are relevant to their reader (e.g., if you’re talking to a mil/aero editor, don’t lead with an energy example).
2. Captures Attention
Everyday, people are approached by companies offering solutions and services. Effective technical spokespeople must first capture the attention of the editor and draw them in to the story you’d like to tell.
Untitled design-4Some ways to capture attention include:
Start out by explaining exactly what you will cover in the next 30 min (don’t have more than 30 min of content)
Get to a product demo (if applicable) within about 5 min of your presentation – less powerpoint and more demonstration/discussion
Use case studies (or real-world example use cases if you can’t mention real customers) to illustrate your points versus just stating them
Demonstrate your own passion for the topic
Involve the audience by asking questions about their knowledge or thoughts on the topic
As much as you think your story is great, sometimes people aren’t interested. It is your challenge to adjust to make it even more interesting. A great spokesperson doesn’t just run through their presentation, but is also aware and listens. When an editor becomes disinterested, a great spokesperson adjusts.
Some tips for adjusting include:
Ask audience if they’ve had experience with the product/technology/application you’re discussing
Ask audience what they’re seeing in industry
Relate what you’re talking about to past articles the editor has written (this requires researching his or her past related articles, which is always a smart idea)
Ask the editor if he or she working on any article ideas related to your topic
4. Speaks to the Industry
To build trust with your audience and establish your company as a trusted resource, it is important to communicate that you understand the challenges that readers face and can speak to it beyond the specific interest of promoting your company.
Some tips for speaking to industry trends include:
Know – and have an opinion – about the trends in your industry
Be aware of what your competitors are doing and don’t be afraid to acknowledge it, if their activity supports your message
It is OK to talk about your competitors – the editors are following them too; you can speak about competitors and differentiate your offerings or stance on trends without bad-mouthing them, which is never a good idea
Avoid jargon or terms that are specific to your company, unless your company is working to emphasize a specific term to assert thought leadership
5. Use Real-World Examples
One of the best ways to validate your main message is by providing real-world examples. An example can be used as a bullet point in a story or as the meat. A great spokesperson comes prepared with real-world examples that support their key messages and are relevant to the audience.
Real-world examples can be sourced from:
Big companies or “media darlings” – companies often covered by the press
Un-named, generic example use cases based on real customer examples
Finally, a great spokesperson closes. After you’ve captured the attention of your audience, outlined the article, provided examples and proven yourself to be a trusted resource, you should restate your key messages and secure interest.
A great spokesperson isn’t afraid to end a meeting by asking:
Was this information helpful? Which news shared was most interesting to you?
Is this something you think you will cover?
Are there any additional materials we can supply for your article, such as product or application images?
Will you be at XYZ trade show? If so, can we set up a time for you to come by the booth?
Hire TREW for a speaking engagement or on-site workshop. Our marketing consultants will energize, educate and inspire your team with presentations on inbound marketing, content strategy and development, web/SEO and more. Our onsite workshops are ideal for teams who are seeking in-depth focus on a particular aspect of their marketing or need help with a specific market or competitive situation.