There are few things as frightening, potentially damaging and as misunderstood as a crisis. Here are five things about crisis communications that may be counter intuitive but are absolutely true: Read more after the jump…
One of the most important points of message training is to avoid speculation if you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s better to say, “I don’t know” than to send reporters or audiences spiraling with potential misinformation. That said, this point can be much easier to teach than to practice.
I, like many other senior-level professionals, take pride in having answers. After all, what is my 20 years of experience worth if I don’t know the solution to my client’s or team’s problems? But sometimes I find it particularly hard to say, “I don’t know,” or to ask additional questions rather than just jump in with an answer – no matter how preliminary or unknown that answer or solution might be. As it turns out, I’m not alone…
Why Questions Are Scary
My colleague Brooke Willard recently wrote a poignant blog post about overcoming imposter syndrome. In it, she describes that sinking feeling of being an imposter in your own field when asked a question to which you don’t know the answer.
Hal Gregersen underscored this issue in a Harvard Business Journal article about better brainstorming when he noted that people with the most senior positions and greatest technical expertise can be the most challenged when it comes to asking questions rather than offering answers when faced with a problem. Why? Because they’re often afraid of looking incompetent if they don’t have the answers. Sound familiar? It certainly does to me – so I was thrilled this article also offered some suggestions about how to handle this better. Read more after the jump…
The Winter Olympics has drawn to a close leaving us with plenty of memorable moments. From Shaun White’s triumphant return to the podium to Lindsey Vonn’s final Olympics performance, North Korea’s enthusiastic cheerleaders to tension around Vice President Mike Pence’s attendance – there were plenty of headlines made over the last few weeks.
It would have been easy to predict many of these story lines – but what’s more notable are some of the “stories behind the stories” that grabbed some ink and airtime. Here are three examples worth a look: Read more after the jump…
At the core, those of us at GFM and CenterTable consider ourselves storytellers. Whether we’re developing social media content, drafting press releases or preparing talking points, we know that telling a great story is key to capturing our audience.
So, imagine our delight at finding this infographic that details seven basic storytelling structures:
- Overcoming a monster
- Rags to riches
- Voyage and return
- The quest (pictured at right, click through link above to see others)
At the Public Relations Organization International (PROI) conference held in Denver last month, I had the opportunity to hear from a panel of in-house, senior-level communications professionals who spoke about what they hope to get out of agency partnerships. Each of the panelists previously worked for creative agencies themselves, providing for unique insight and surprisingly simple answers. Below are the top three things this expert panel asks of agency partners.
Did you know that, on average, executives spent nearly 23 hours a week in meetings? What’s more, 65 percent of senior managers say meetings keep them from completing their own work and 71 percent say the meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
I came across these depressing stats while reading an article from the Harvard Business Review about how to “Stop The Meeting Madness.” My husband suggested I read it after yet another dinner-time exchange that resulted in me describing my day as mostly spent in meetings. In an effort to understand more about how this meeting culture developed and how it was impacting my day-to-day, I dug a little deeper to also find some solutions. Read more after the jump…
As communicators, it’s hard not to have an admiration for one of the toughest PR jobs on earth: The White House Press Secretary. Watching the current White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, bob and weave on a daily basis, got me thinking about this challenging role and one of the most famous press secretaries, C.J. Cregg of the West Wing (I know it was a TV show, but who didn’t love watching her in action?).
It has to be one of the toughest, most stressful communications jobs as every day is a crisis of some sort. According to the International Business Times, the average White House spokesperson stays in the job for two and a half years. President Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, made infamous on Saturday Night Live, lasted just 182 days.
What are your boundaries when it comes to client culture and the type of clients you would represent? And would you have the courage to maintain those boundaries if the client represented hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fees? How about millions of dollars?
How much do you care about client culture?
Would you be willing to represent Harvey Weinstein following his rape and harassment allegations? Sitrick and Company does. How about Bill O’Reilly following his sexual harassment claims? N.S. Bienstock Agency did. Would you be willing to create campaigns for the NRA or the anti-gun group Americans for Responsible Solutions? WPP did both… at the same time.
Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.
Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?
|In order to||To|
|Very ugly, very fat, very angry||Hideous, obese, furious|
|In the event that||If|
|On account of the fact that
Because of the fact that
Due to the fact that
|In spite of the fact that||Although, though, despite|
|In the absence of||Without|
|In the event that||If|
|A large proportion of||Many|
|In a situation in which||When|
|There is a need for||Must|
|Along the lines of||Like|
|At the present time||Now, currently|
What do you discuss with your TSA agent?
Believe it or not, that’s a question I often ask myself as I approach the gatekeepers of airport security. Is it the weather? Do I venture a joke about the tumultuous sea of humanity I just traversed? Should I preemptively acknowledge the fact that my ID looks like it’s been acid washed (it does)?
Thankfully, that question was answered for me on my latest trip.
“Thank you Officer Mady,” I said to the agent. “Thanks for making sure that doubled-edged knife didn’t make it on my flight.”
You see, someone who works for the Transportation Security Administration within the Charleston International Airport has posted “Great Catch” signs throughout airport security lines — an arena where eyes are prone to wander and likely land on graphic images of weapons.
But instead of simply declaring these items aren’t allowed in your carry-on (duh), beneath the images are stories about how Charleston TSA agents have detected these very items during the course of security screenings.
All of a sudden, Officer Smith and I had something to talk about.
Read more after the jump…