Doing PR for the boss

We examine the dos and don’ts when it comes to doing PR for the boss.

Putting the boss out there can be a great move for your company – after all, putting a face to the brand and adding your voice to the hot topics of the day can be powerful, but doing PR for the boss can be tricky.

DO get the boss on board
Is the boss committed? Are they keen to actually go out there and talk to the media and engage with the public? This buy-in is very important to ensure that the right image is projected, and that the opportunities are met with the right attitude and enthusiasm.

DO understand the playing field
It’s important to understand what is of interest to the media so that you can offer something of value. Look at what your competitors are doing right, what the companies you admire are communicating and how your boss fits into that landscape. Bosses must ensure that what they have to say will be pertinent, add value and be interpreted positively, otherwise they run the risk of being redundant or irrelevant.

DO have a clear message
Know what you want to communicate to the audience through media interviews with the boss. This clarity will ensure that your boss gets what they want out of the opportunity and will have the ability to turn the interview in their favor. If your boss is being interviewed by someone with only vague knowledge, their ability to guide the conversation is an asset, or if the boss is being interviewed by someone with great understanding, knowing where they stand will tip the scales of control their way.

DON’T be unprepared
As brilliant as your boss may be in the boardroom, they may freeze up in front of reporters or cameras. Prime them for the spotlight with some media training or coaching to help them deal with the pressure of being in a public forum. This will help them respond with more finesse and manage their body language.

DON’T over-promise
If you are seeking opportunities for your boss, embellishing their accomplishments or abilities will backfire in the long run. While media space is at a premium, stay within the limits of what is true. Everyone has something unique to offer, your boss may have the ability to merge technology with emotion, or an uncanny ability to spot trends. Highlight these unique features, rather than make attributes up.

DON’T be overly technical
Many business leaders get to the top of their game because of their technical know-how and specialised skills. Show the boss the importance of speaking in normal, everyday language in order to be effective. Remind the boss to have a good time and to bring the business to life through whatever PR avenues they have at their disposal.

Puseletso Mompei is a communications consultant and trainer. She offers communications and media training for corporate executives, spokespersons, managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, diplomats, academia and public relations officers. Contact her at puseletso@kwazicommunications.co.za, or visit www.kwazicommunications.co.za for more information.