5 min read

Six Characteristics of a Great Spokesperson

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.

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1. Know Your 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. Capture 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.

Some 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

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3. Adjust

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. Speak 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:

  • Your customers
  • Big companies or “media darlings” – companies often covered by the press
  • Industry trends
  • Un-named, generic example use cases based on real customer examples
  • Other vendors

6. Closes

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?

Here's some additional resources to help you with your next speaking gig:


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