Your Message Must Reflect Your Values

Your Message Must Reflect Your Values

The message you create, the actions you take, and the comments you offer to the public during a crisis must truly be responsive, and they must truly reflect your VALUE COMPASS.

Acknowledge the concerns of the other side.

Accept responsibility.

Admit your mistakes.

Act in a trustworthy fashion.

It will help you build and rebuild long term relationships. 

Use a crisis to show the public and your stakeholders what you're made of.

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Learn to Pause

Learn to Pause

Jeff Ansell - Make a point of pausing ...

When somebody says something to you, let there be a big pause.

Sometimes we're so quick to jump back that the person's isn't even finished what they're saying and already we're coming back.

We're listening to them speak, and thinking, "How am I going to answer? How am I going to answer?" and we're not listening to them.

If we do this to our spouses, our loved ones, the people we claim to care about, we're short-changing that relationship. But when you're involved in an encounter with somebody and you make them more important than you, you're connecting, and it's liberating.

Don't be so quick to jump in with an answer, or a comment.

You've got to make peace with pausing.

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Compelling Reasons

Compelling Reasons

Provide compelling reasons to be trusted

Let me share a couple of ways to build trust.

First, acknowledge the skepticism other people may have about your policies, programs, initiatives, issues, and so on.

Do not pretend skepticism does not exist. 

Address it, and deal with it.

Something tragic happened in Toronto recently at York University. Two young women were sexually assaulted in their dorm, and the spokesman for York University spoke to the media the next day and said, and I quote,

"The dorms are safe."

Now . . . given the sexual assaults that took place in the dormitory, how could he have possibly made such a statement?

Acknowledge the skepticism that some people feel.

For example; "As safe as we do to make the dorms, this tragedy unfolded. This horrible event took place and we will work closely with authorities to find out what we can do to keep such a terrible thing from happening again."

Put it into context and acknowledge and recognize the emotion. When you're dealing with angry people and you want to build trust and influence, you've got to tap into the emotion.

Let me give you another example of providing compelling reasons to be trusted. For a variety of reasons, the Catholic Church has not done a terribly effective job representing itself regarding scandals. There's not just one organization that speaks for the Catholic Church in North America. Everybody's on their own with all these different Archdioceses, but I will always remember the words of a parish priest in Boston. His name is Father James Flavin. He said to Newsweek Magazine, at the height of this whole scandal involving sexual abuse of young people at the hands of priests, "I wouldn't trust a priest either right now," adding, "The church screwed up royally."

I trust him. He said what everybody knows to be true but we're all afraid to say it for goodness sake.

When you acknowledge skepticism, you're simply acknowledging what everybody often knows to be true. As a result, your credibility is maintained and maybe even enhanced.

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Body Language

Body Language

There's famous research from the University of California in Los Angeles, from "Dr. Albert Morabian."

Dr. Morabian has demonstrated conclusively that when you say something, 55% of the way your message is interpreted comes from the way you use your body and how you use your face when you say it.

38% of the interpretation of your message comes from the voice, tone, texture, and level of conviction.

So . . . run the numbers, and what does that leave?

A massive 7% for people to interpret your message based on your words.

It's disheartening.

When we speak, we have to juggle the visual, vocal, and verbal so that we can look like we mean what we say and say what we mean.

The whole secret to being a good speaker is;

"Say it like you mean it . . . 
and look like you mean it."

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Don't Be So Quick to Speak

Don't Be So Quick to Speak

Once a word leaves your lips, it's on its way to Mars.

It doesn't disappear.

It reverberates.

It ripples.

When we were kids we'd get into a fight in the schoolyard. We'd get a punch in the stomach and double over a little bit, but ten minutes later you'd forget about it. The pain goes away.

But, if you're a child, and somebody says something to you, like, "Her sister's the pretty one, his brother's the smart one," the comment can be forty, fifty, or sixty years old and those ugly words still live on in the universe.

We have a responsibility to use words in a responsible fashion.

Having the ability to use words is sacred. It's a gift, but we use our words in such mischievous ways, and we demean other people when we don't think about what we say.

It's a terrible thing to demean or embarrass another human being. It's an act of theft. You're stealing a person's dignity and esteem. You have no right to do that.

We should use our words to build others up. Help them feel good about themselves. Lift them up.

Think of the words that leave your lips.

It's a bit like toothpaste.

Once you squeeze it ... 
it doesn't go back in.

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Emotion VS Fact

Emotion VS Fact

In a time of crisis one of the biggest mistakes spokespeople make is to think that if they just tell people the facts, everyone will understand their perspective.

I help teach a course at Harvard Law School twice a year called Dealing With An Angry Public. We get people that represent the ugliest sectors possible, like Nuclear energy, the gun lobby, tobacco, etc., - everybody you love to hate takes this course.

Invariably, someone will say, the reason we're here is because we want to help our angry public learn how to strip away emotion so they focus only on fact.

What they don't know until they finish our course is that in a battle of fact verses emotion, EMOTION IS ALWAYS GOING TO WIN.

If the protagonist in the story doesn't acknowledge emotion, the story will move from page 10 to page 5 to page 3 and to page 1 above the fold when the emotion is shoved down their throat.

Emotion is like a tidal wave.

You either embrace it or you get swallowed up by it.

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My First Radio Job

My First Radio Job

When I was seventeen, and working in a factory, every day from work I used to call a different radio station to try and book an audition.

I always asked for the owner. One day I managed to get an audition at CFMB, but only after promising the owner, Casimir Stanczykowski that I'd quit bothering him if he agreed to see me.

He asked how old I was, and I lied and said nineteen.

I had to borrow a suit from a friend for the interview, but it paid off because the day after the audition I got the job.

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Going to CHUM

Going to CHUM

I worked the overnight shift at CFCF in Montreal and wanted to get off of it in the worst way. I was grateful to have a job, but after a year or so of not ever seeing the sun I wanted a normal life.

After a few years of the night shift I got a phone call from Brian Thomas who was the News Director at CHUM FM. He invited me to come for an audition in Toronto.

I got the CHUM FM job, and after I while I switched to the AM side where I fulfilled my dream of working with Dick Smythe.

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