During our Terri Ammerman Group crisis spokesperson seminars, we are often asked if it’s okay to read a statement during a news briefing. Our answer is “yes.” But our response includes conditions that must be met or reading a statement will look and sound amateurish. You should become intimately familiar with the statement by rehearsing it in full voice multiple times. Type the statement in large enough print to easily read it. And even though you are reading, looking up from the page and creating eye contact as often as possible will help your credibility.
During a recent briefing on wildfires, we think Oregon Governor Kate Brown did an admirable job of reading a lengthy statement with confidence and credibility.
Governor Brown appeared familiar and comfortable with the statement. It was not a perfect performance, however. During the beginning and middle, Brown placed her hands below the desk, which appears weak. Keeping her hands above the desk at all times would have given her an even stronger persona. Overall, we give Brown high marks for reading the statement. She was prepared to deliver her messages and it showed.