PRSSA National Conference

Key Takeaways:

The PRSSA National Conference had so many sessions with interesting sessions, but one definitely stood out to me the most. My favorite session focused on being a spokesperson and training your CEO to be a spokesperson. This session was give by Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III, APR, Fellow PRSA, President and CEO, Trahan & Associates and was one of my favorite sessions because of the immense amount of information that he provided us with, but also because of is outgoing personality and extreme willingness to help us succeed later on in life.

UNI, Simpson, and Drake PRSSA students

“Win their hearts and you’ll win their minds”

Dr. Trahan spoke quite a bit about the importance of showing the right amount of emotion and being transparent with your company. He also spoke quite a bit to the importance of pausing to think before answers any questions during a press conference to eliminate the “like, you know, um” phrases from an answer. This will not only make the answer a stronger one, but will also make the spokesperson look more put together and authoritative. When speaking at a press conference or answering questions of any kind, we learned about focusing on control, competence, and concern. In other words, when answering as the face of an organization, only answer with the information that you are entirely sure of to avoid confusion or even worse, having to make a correction to your initial answer.

My friend Karoline and I at the National conference

Dr. Trahan also spent quite a bit of time explaining how to manage crisis communications. He threw a few statistics at us that quite honestly overwhelmed me a little bit. He stated that; you only have 1-3 minutes to get info out during a crisis, there needs to be an hour of prep for every minute that the spokesperson is on air, for a 3-7 minute standup there needs to be up to 7 hours of prep for the spokesperson, and for a 13 minute news conference there needs to be 13 hours of preparation. While I understand and appreciate the amount of preparation that is required to successfully fulfill the role as spokesperson in an on-air capacity, the amount of preparation seems very daunting.

Quick Facts from Dr. Trahan:

  • Know the lingo of different demographics and understand when it is appropriate to use them.
  • Build a bridge of trust and confidence between the CEO and company, but also between the CEO and the public.
  • Focus on SAPP during a crisis. (Security, Accuracy, Propriety, Policy).