4 phrases that can undermine a spokesperson’s credibility

Why verbal crutches such as, ‘Let’s be clear,’ could undercut your candid assertion.

Look out. That’s a verbal crutch—sometimes called a throat-clearing statement—and when speaking to the media it could hurt a spokesperson’s credibility.

Barbara Gibson, a social media trainer and former chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), discovered this phenomenon while assessing the strengths and weaknesses of corporate spokespeople.

To perform the analysis, a journalist interviewed individual spokespeople for 40 minutes, then the journalist and a PR assessor rated their abilities across 12 key skills. Among the areas she examined was whether journalists considered the spokesperson “open and honest.”

“We found there is a very big difference between being open and honest and seeming so,” Gibson explained in an email to Ragan.com sister site, PRDaily.com.

She began by analyzing various aspects of spokespeople’s performances to learn why journalists think they’re not truthful when they are, in fact, telling the truth.

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