The SPOKEies™ Founder Doug Simon speaks with Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. The IPR is a non-profit organization that conducts research that matters to the public relations profession including digital media, marketing and analytics. Tina gives her thoughts on the critical role internal spokespeople play in an organization’s success and the importance of credibility.
“Your in-house spokesperson is probably one of the most important people to both your internal and external audiences because they are the ones who give your stakeholders trust in what you’re doing. They’re the ones who also help promote your message.”
“Credibility is absolutely critical. If you don’t have a credible spokesperson your organization’s reputation could be affected, your message may not be disseminated.”
DOUG SIMON: Welcome to SPOKEies University. I’m Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media. My guest, joining us via Skype, is Tina McCorkindale. She’s President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. Thanks so much for being with us.
TINA MCCORKINDALE: Thanks for having me, Doug. I’m excited to be here.
DOUG SIMON: Great. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about the role of the Institute.
TINA MCCORKINDALE: Sure. So, the Institute for Public Relations, we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. And we’ve been around for about 60 years. And we do research that matters to the profession. And we have multiple commissions that also do research, and measurement, digital media.
And then we also focus on industry topics, like diversity. But everything we do, we try to make relevant to the profession. And then we also hold workshops and professional developments so people can do their jobs better.
DOUG SIMON: The SPOKEies now are the first awards program to actually recognize the contributions of in-house spokespeople. Why do you feel it’s important to recognize them, who are doing an outstanding job based on trust, authenticity, and effectiveness?
TINA MCCORKINDALE: Right. Well, your in-house spokesperson is probably one of the most important people to both your internal and external audience. Because they are the ones who give your stakeholders trust in what you’re doing. And they’re the ones who also help promote your message. So I don’t think we recognize them enough in the industry, and how important they are, and how challenging their jobs are, both trying to balance the needs of the organization, but also the both external and internal audiences as well.
DOUG SIMON: Yeah. You’ve touched on credibility there, which is so important. And that’s going to be a key part of the awards program. But it’s also critical for organizations looking to build their market and build their value.
TINA MCCORKINDALE: Yes. Exactly right. And credibility is absolutely critical. If you don’t have a credible spokesperson, your organization’s reputation could be affected. And your message may not be disseminated.
DOUG SIMON: Any thoughts on some best practices and tips for corporate and nonprofit spokespeople to be as effective as possible?
TINA MCCORKINDALE: Yes. I mean, there’s all sorts of tips you can give. And part of it’s the– if you’re talking about sort of the physical characteristics of a spokesperson, it’s having the confidence, having the projection of the voice, making sure that you’re maintaining eye contact with your audience.
And it’s also with some of the nonverbal. Because 93% of communication is nonverbal as well, with eye contact, but also your tone of voice and how you speak to people, and how you answer the questions, and how you represent your organization.
People want to feel like they are being heard, that they’re being cared about. And that message from the organization has to be conveyed through stakeholders– through your spokesperson. And audiences are really savvy. And if they detect that you’re lying or in some ways not telling the truth, or just, you’re questions, or you’re sort of dodging questions, or even pivoting questions, they pick up on it. They’re very, very savvy. And we’ve seen that numerous times, even this year, with some crises that have hit organizations.
DOUG SIMON: Yeah. And we also see an advantage that the in-house spokesperson also has a greater depth of knowledge. So if a different question comes up, they can understand. It’s not just memorized, rote talking points. They can actually engage better with the viewers, with their key audience as well.
We couldn’t be more excited to have you as part of the process as a judge. I know that we’re getting lots of nominees coming in. It’s going to be some very difficult choices to have. But there’s going to be some great winners.
TINA MCCORKINDALE: I’m really excited. So, I’m not familiar that there’s any awards like this. And I’m excited to be part of it.
DOUG SIMON: Great. Thanks so much for your help. We really appreciate it.
TINA MCCORKINDALE: Yeah. Thanks so much. I appreciate being asked. Thank you.