There’s nothing more challenging for a crisis management team than an inflexible spokesperson. You can picture it in your mind instantly. This person knows everything, will not take direction, cannot take constructive criticism.
In a crisis, the person who becomes the face of your organization should ooze humility. He or she should represent, with extreme grace and style, your organizational point of view and cultural footprint.
Yesterday the students of Travel and Tourism College, an annual event coordinated by the Texas Travel Industry Association, voiced this challenge in our sessions on crisis management. It seems that many organizations have been faced with an arrogant spokesperson and they were looking for strategies.
How do you tame that arrogance into something workable before your next crisis? This is a tricky problem because if one person is your stumbling block, chances are your team dynamics already has some issues. But there are a few workarounds which might help smooth out the kinks. Here are 6 ideas for crisis managers to try.
Do Group Media Training
Raise the quality of everyone’s interview potential with a group media training session.
Use Mock Interviews to Improve Performance
After that media training session, put your newfound skills to the test and have each member of the group do a mock interview. Record them and do group critiques. It’s the best way to highlight good interviewees and those who need improvement.
Cultivate Multiple Spokespersons
Should the same person ALWAYS represent your organization? That’s a hefty burden and a liability in many cases. By cultivating multiple spokespersons, you spread the burden – and the liability – and eliminate the power structure of a single mouthpiece.
Use Three Key Messages
Maybe you are asking too much of your spokesperson and they have information overload. Limit what they need to transmit to a handful of key messages – no more than three – to keep the interview sharp.
Critique Every Interview
Every interview can be improved. Every spokesperson can learn new things. Critique every interview starting with what went well followed by what could be improved.
Sometimes partnering the arrogant spokesperson with a kinder, gentler person in a two-person interview can help deliver the message. This is a strategy which Kellye Crane of SoloPRPro has used successfully with clients who need softening around the edges.
If you’re having trouble with a spokesperson who is inflexible and can’t take direction, try one of these 6 ideas and see if it makes a difference.