Many companies are now trying to show they are ‘doing the right thing’, such as improving their employment diversity and reducing environmental impact, to show that they are attuned to the expectations of a new generation of consumers. But all too often their communication style doesn’t back this up. Far too frequently the corporate messaging is bland and generic, and the language sounds too corporate and complacent. So, if you are trying to tell us that you’re working to improve diversity, your set of spokespeople should be diverse as well. If you tell us how hard you’ve worked to pay above minimum wage, you’d better not get found out for using suppliers who turn out to have been exploiting child labour. If your job is to promote green technology, you will need to be able to explain the benefits in a non-technical manner, so it doesn’t just sound like a lot of confusing jargon. If your organisation is keen to promote its social purpose, to avoid just looking like a marketing gimmick or ‘greenwash’, your spokespeople will have to be able to demonstrate how this runs right through the business. The overriding point is that it’s more important than ever for the public face of organisations to be authentic and human. It helps for companies to be able to admit where mistakes have been made and further progress is required, rather than to appear corporate and self satisfied – although we know that for many organisations, this will take a lot of working on.
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We can now offer on-camera and autocue skills coaching for spokespeople who have to present online video material or webinars.