How to proceed when your spokesperson is a dud

Sometimes your CEO or resident expert on a given topic is the worst person to talk about it. With careful planning and a dollop of tact, you can replace the fizzler with a sizzler.

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You’ve tried it all—expensive media trainers, countless mock interviews, hours-long messaging sessions—and still it’s crystal clear that the person in your organization who knows the most about a key topic is the last one you want on camera or on the phone with a reporter.

They may be the most brilliant and creative people in the company, but that doesn’t mean they have the skills and personality for a live on-air appearance—or even a recorded one.

Just watch this 2010 Mark Zuckerberg interview and try not cringe with each bead of sweat that rolls down his face. It is painfully obvious this guy does not love the camera.

Maybe nobody at Facebook will tell the founder he’s a bad interview, but in most cases, a good PR person can tackle the problem of a lackluster spokesperson with these steps:

Be very, very sure. Is the current spokesperson really untrainable? If possible, have other members of the PR team sit in on a few interviews and get their feedback (before sharing yours). Record interviews or prep sessions, and share them with trusted PR colleagues outside your organization to get their honest opinion.

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