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A person who is engaged or chosen to speak on behalf of others is referred to as a spokesperson, spokesman, or spokeswoman.

It is increasingly likely that many organisations will hire professionals who have received formal training in journalism, communications, public relations, and public affairs for this role in the present media-sensitive world. This is done in order to ensure that public announcements are made in the most appropriate manner and through the most appropriate channels in order to maximise the impact of favourable messages and minimise the impact of unfavourable messages.

Celebrity spokespeople, such as well-known local and national sports figures (like Michael Jordan for Nike and Coca-Cola) or television and film stars (like Beyoncé for Pepsi and L'Oreal), are often selected to act as spokesmen for commercial advertising campaigns.

In contrast to an individual who is presenting a personal testimony, it is the responsibility of a spokesperson to honestly represent and argue for the organization's viewpoints, even if these opinions are in direct opposition to the spokesperson's own perspective. As a consequence of this, spokespeople are often chosen from among experienced, long-term workers or other individuals who are well-known to support the objectives of the business.

A company's chief executive officer, chairman, president, chief financial officer, counsel, or an external legal adviser are the individuals who are authorised to represent the organisation in public settings. In addition, the role may be given to the corporate communications or investor relations departments (or equivalents), who will function as spokesmen on a day-to-day basis and for more regular announcements. In this scenario, the position entails making more general statements.

As an example, in the field of particle physics, huge collaborations of physicists often vote on one (or two) spokesmen to serve as the leader(s) of the collaboration. In situations like this, the person who should be serving as the spokesman is the main scientist of the partnership, not a public speaker. For reasons internal to the cooperation, the functions and responsibilities of the spokesperson are selected by the collaborators. However, spokespeople often have roles that are specified in relation to interfacing with the host laboratory and/or funding organisations.