Robert Gibbs Was A Model Spokesman
“This doesn’t stop,” White House Press Spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “This is a tough place to work.”
And that my friends, pretty much sums up why Gibbs resigned today. Being a PR spokesperson on the front lines is very, very, very taxing and I am not surprised by his announcement and applaud Gibbs for knowing that he’s had enough. I mean who won’t want a break from having to stay “on alert” every minute of the day, 365 days a year. Whoever is in this post does not have a personal life for their job NEVER stops. The only time it will stop is when the world does! And no one knows that date or hour.
PR IS ALWAYS ON CALL
As a PR pro, this is a job that I personally would never want. Although, there are several things about the post that I would love to do, it’s the daily endless grind that would ultimately get the best of me. I can handle the pressure of being the spokesperson for companies for you can still have a life in addition to your job. All of us in PR and in crisis communication, pretty much know that we are always on call. At anytime we could get an unexpected message that will transcend our next hours and/or days and we will have to be prepared to act with carefully constructed comments. We saw examples of this last year. The press offices at BP and Toyota never expected that they would have such crises consume their lives in 2010. These things just come out of nowhere.
But, with Gibbs, he had reporters pepper him at nauseum every day and over every imaginable topic. Talk about being constantly on your toes. It does get tiring.
ON YOUR TOES
Tony Snow was a great spokesman for the Country.
Even though I have spent years practicing this trade, I know that I must stay sharp and keep learning. One educating method I use is to observe the White House Press Secretaries for they are the best at what they do. And you can tell a lot about them and the management of the White House by their actions and words.
I have this saying that my friends often hear: “The fish stinks from the head down.“ What that saying means is that if the person in charge runs a company with good ethics, flexibility and with open communication -the rest of the company will work that way. If the boss is tight-lipped, dictatorial and/or very private, the company tone will be more closed as an operation. With Gibbs, I liked him from the start. He always tried to keep an even jovial tone and one that was not combative or heavy handed, only when necessary. That’s how I like dealing with the press too. I have deep respect for them and understand their function. Heck, I recognize that the main reason I have my job is because there is a press corp. I also liked Tony Snow in this post too. He had a friendly relationship with the press as well.
The White House Press Secretary is a tough job as Gibbs stated in USA Today. He’s been advising Obama’s press comments since 2002, so he’s hung in there awhile. He’s due for a time to re-tool.
Do you think this is a job perfectly suited for you? It takes a special breed of person to tackle this challenge. Here’s just a short list of requirements – how many do you possess?
- A thirst for world knowledge
- Understanding of all business facets and culture
- Press relationships
- Fast thinker on your feet
- Expert speaker
- Accomplished writer
- Voracious reader
- Leadership abilities
- Ability to pronounce foreign locations and leaders
- Not prone to anger
- Politically correct with word choices
- Possess the ability to apologize
- Thick skinned
- Require little or no sleep
- Speech writing
- Strategic planner
- Research minded
- Great memory/ability to memorize
- Possess a poker face
- Love to shoot the breeze
It is a tough job. PR is not for the faint of heart.
Best wishes Robert. May you enjoy a day soon when you don’t have to read every article, comment and tweet about the USA and be responsible for defending the President. You deserve a break today. And thanks for being a good PR role-model. Much success to you and your successor.