Tags - communication

Whenever you give an interview, record a statement on camera, when you write a letter to the editor or post a comment on a website, you are doing an important job for your company, because what you are doing is renewing your company’s citizenship. Alright, so you didn’t realize that was what you were doing, but think about it. In the long run, a business can be viable only if the public thinks that what the business is doing is beneficial to society. Otherwise, political pressure will build up, and that can result in the business being forced to close down, if only in extreme cases. Whether or not the public thinks a business is beneficial will be based on facts, but only to a degree.

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A positive approach will help you achieve results, and that is true of communication, too. Positive thinking leads to positive speech, and positive speech is a lot easier to remember than negatives. But mainly, positive speech will lead to positive action and thus to success.

There is no ducking this decision, because positive and negative thinking are mutually exclusive. The two mind sets block each other out.

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To be effective, key messages need to be several things at once. They need to be

  • brief
  • positive
  • clear
  • consistent
  • credible and
  • durable.

They need to be positive because it’s hard to remember negative statements. That takes abstraction, and that means your brain needs to work more. That’s because back when nature’s engineers designed the structure of our mind, they mostly copied what was already there in animals. And since animals aren’t really good at abstract thinking, at the subconscious level, we aren’t either.

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Crises are neither good nor bad. The true sense of the word is that it is a decision situation. Best to view it as an opportunity. When your organization becomes caught up in a crisis, you’ll need good communications skills and above all – empathy.

Three sure-fire ways to make a crisis worse is stonewalling, salami tactics and passing the parcel.

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In our five-part series, today’s installment is about communications. The crisis has arrived, and the public is turning to our company. What should we say? What do the people expect to hear? The first thing to tell the public is: we’re sorry. We’re sorry we messed up, and if we didn’t mess up, we’re sorry that it looked that way. We also understand that the public wants to know what we are doing. We take this seriously. What this is about is empathy. It’s the Greek word for feeling with the other person. Public opinion today tends to be biased against big corporations. Whether this is warranted or not is beside the point, there’s no arguing with reality. So, in a crisis, it’s a good idea to try to ease the pressure and to calm public excitement.

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