Crisis Communication and the Golden Mean

Here’s a good thought experiment you can conduct from the comfort of your well-appointed office (that may or may not smell of rich mahogany), your 12 square feet of space in a cube farm, your couch or from wherever it is you are reading this post: make a list of all the times you’ve told […]

6 Reasons People Say Bad Things About You

“Yeah, Well, You Know, That’s Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man.” * The American news media has always been about recording, contextualizing and transmitting opinions to readers, listeners and viewers. It’s nothing new. The thirst for opinion is so real, that many organizations stress to their spokespeople to “just stick to the facts” when giving interviews. […]

Virtuous Crisis Communications

Aristotle’s model of virtue ethics provides clear guidance on how professionals can best communicate with stakeholders during an emergency or disaster. Aristotle believed that the key to life was happiness, and that it was achieved by living virtuously – “all things in moderation,” basically, because in his treatise on the subject every virtue has TWO vices, […]

Open Houses vs. Town Halls during Crises

The following may sound like a contentious view when you first read it, but I consider it a public service announcement when I write: if you have bad news or risk information to communicate to publics affected by your crisis, don’t ever (ever, ever, EVER) choose to hold a town hall meeting to do so. […]

Simple Communication Practices for Complex Incidents

At times, a simple incident – whether it be small or large – can become complex quickly, and require more from professional communicators than is the norm for mitigating disaster through their work with the community and media. What makes an incident complex? An increasing magnitude of the incident or larger scope of area and […]

What’s the Telos of Your Communication?

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “nature always moves toward an end,” the definition of the Greek word telos will be easy to understand: it is the end, purpose or – even better – the completion toward which everything in the world moves. The quote above is Aristotle paraphrased, and so is this, “art imitates […]