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     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

V. Be strategic in communicating your messages
  A. People prefer face-to-face communication
      - and when possible, do it one-to-one; sell ideas
      “retail”                 “It’s very important for us to stay in sync. With
                                all the tools and technology we have, there is
                                          no substitute for face-to-face communication”
                                                            Michael Dell
  B. People prefer hearing messages from
     people they trust and respect
      - losing trust is not recoverable
      - the Pelz effect
Creating and Maintaining Trust
   Reliability       Consistency in messages &
 (consistency)               standards

                   No Lies or false feedback
 (keep promises)
   (Good will)                                 Trust
  Vulnerability            Engaging in behaviors desired by
    (Open)                 other but not by self; no misplaced
                              benevolence; trusting others
                    Consistent business performance;
   (Knows)           Dealing effectively with problems      3
   Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
 Why trust matters
              High Need for
 Change                          Sense-making
               Information                    Using
                Available                    Informal

                           How to Build Trust

• Engage in non-task communication
• Argue against your presumed position
• Have something at stake
• Show that doing X will cost you
• Show that doing X is inconsistent with your self-interests
• Do something that is not part of your job description
• Show vulnerability: You have a lot to lose
• You had a choice; Do things that are not required
• Let people overhear you
• Your record of accomplishment
• Be reliable
• Follow-through
• Keep your small commitments (maybe)
• Avoid a contract
• Be clear about your intentions
• Apologize if you have challenged trust
                             How to Build Trust

• Be honest
• Show your similarity with others involved
• Surround yourself with people that are trusted
• Have someone who is trusted introduce you
• Cite credible sources
• Appear objective
• Summarize everything you looked at and indicate you chose X only after a
thorough review
• Reveal both good and bad things about the idea
• Openly raise the issue of trust
• Show that your decision is free and independent—no one if forcing you

     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

V. Be strategic in communicating your
   messages, (cont’d.)

   C. People want timely messages
   D. People want relevant messages
   E. People want honest messages, even when
       there are no guarantees
   F. People want consistent messages

Person 1
Person 2
Person 3
Person 4
Person 5

     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

V. Be strategic in communicating your
   messages, (cont’d.)
  Choosing media
   Media richness theory

    - Use more channels when the message is:
      (a) important, (b) complex, and (c) ambiguous

    - Use more personal channels when:
      (a) feedback is critical and (b) you want attention
         Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
  V. Be strategic in communicating your
     messages (cont’d.)
            Face to Face
More Cues
More Urgent
More Timely Feedback      Telephone
 More Tailored Messages
                                   E-Mail          Greater Certainty
                                                    Less Complexity
                                          Letter    Routine Messages

 Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
V. Be strategic in communicating your messages

G. Strategic Communication
  What communicates?
     - Decisions
     - Rewards and recognition
     - Informal networks
     - Formal messages

      Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

V. Be strategic in communicating your
   messages, (cont’d.)
   What are the best practices?
– Communication is seen as a vital management process
– Employees, at all levels, are treated as customers of
– Managers are held accountable for communication
– Corporate strategy and communication strategy are integrated
– Let them know what is happening: Big picture and small picture
  are equally important
– Language matters (e.g., how insular is the language?)
– Symbols are valued                                          12
          Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
 V. Ask questions
    A. The way you ask questions matters
       - closed versus open questions

Closed questions restrict the sorts of
answers a person offers to a narrow      Open questions are broad allowing
range of responses.                      respondents freedom about how much
                                         and what information to offer.
“Are you over 30 years of age?”
“Did you go to the meeting?”             “Tell me about yourself?”
“Have you had training in Y?             “What happened at the meeting?”
                                         “What do you know about process Y?”

Types of                                                  Thought
Questions       Typical Response     Questioner

   Closed              Yes/No           High       Low       Low

    Content           Facts

                 hypotheses, and
    Open         underlying issues        Low     High     High

              Richness of Response
    Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

 Is everything working?
 Do you understand?
    Do you understand?
 Creativity is the top criteria
 for deciding, isn’t it?

Open questions lead to “iceberg statements”

Questions that work

  “What do you think would happen if…?”
  “What is most important to you about…?”
  “If you could change one thing about….?”
  “How would you improve…?”
  “How will you do that?”
  “What plans have you made to handle that?”
  “How will your toughest competitor react when you do….?”
  “What else?”
  “What keeps you awake at nighttime”

   Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

B. Probe!
      - silence, nudging, follow-up questions,
      mirror probes

C. Seek advice
D. Listen for the answer
E. Questions can direct attention and consequently
affect decisions

    F. Avoid taking a position too soon

           The Self Fulfilling Prophecy
                        2. You give the other
1. Your confidence      non-critical, routine
in the other is low     tasks

6. You feel your                                3b. You interact
                        3a. The other feels     minimally with the
initial perception      unchallenged and        other (and micro-
was correct             bored                   manage)

5. The other’s          4. The other loses
contributions and       interest in the task
impact is low           and becomes
                        unmotivated                           18
      Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

Use empowering questions

Focus on…                                   Rather than…
Results (e.g., What can we do to on time)   Reasons (e.g. Why are we late?)
Solutions and opportunities                 Problems and threats
What we want                                What we don’t want
What we can do                              Who is to blame
What is working                             What is not working

Try these:

1. What’s your problem with the assignment?___________________________
2. What must we do to avoid losing market share?_______________________
3. What are we doing to hurt our reputation with our customer?____________
                                                                    Statements of
Questioning   To establish       Situation                           difficulties,
              a context                         So                   problems, or
                                 Questions      decision-           dissatisfaction
              Leading to         Problem                        Implied
                                 Questions                      Need
                                               Which are
              Which makes the                  developed by
              decision-maker     Implication
              feel the problem
              more clearly and
              acutely                          So decision-
                                               maker says
                                 Need-Payoff                    Explicit
              Leading to
                                 Questions                      Need
                                               Allowing the
                                               to state             Statements of
                                 Benefit                           wants and desires

                 Situation Questions
Questions about the decision-makers’ present way of operating
  (or facts about their existing situation)

Example: (Potential problem--insufficient warehouse storage
  capacity—your goal---sell the idea to management of getting
  more warehouse space )
   – How many different kinds of goods are stored?
   – What kind of storage retrieval system is now used?
   – What’s the average retrieval time?
   – How many items
   – are retrieved in a ty
   – pical day?
   – How often do you end up searching for items in the
What is the current situation?

•Discover current business, operation, processes, etc.
•Understand their level of satisfaction for what is working
•Discover what needs to be changed to identify current gaps and concerns
•Get numbers, facts, organizational structure

What is their current strategy/future needs?

•Identify their goals, plans, and business drivers looking-forward

What are the their personal needs and relationships

•Identify their non-work interests, points of view
•Determine their feeling and knowledge about you (& what you are associated with)
•Discover how they like to sold

Other questions?

•Their decision making process, compelling events, timeframes
•Who makes the decision; who influences the decision makers “What is
the decision-making process?”
•Selection criteria
•Political issues (who supports/opposes?)
•What client thinks of competition
•Level of access competitors have to client
•What resources have been allocated

                  Problem Questions
Ask about the problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions that
  decision-makers have with their existing situation; Problem
  questions invites people to explore dissatisfactions and
  gets them to state implied needs (Implied needs are
  statements by people of problems, difficulties, and
   – How satisfied are you with the current warehouse?
   – How often do you get customer complaints about
   – What problems are you experiencing in the warehouse?
   – What makes finding things in the warehouse difficult?

                 Implication Questions
Questions about the effects or consequences of a decision-maker’s
  problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions. Implication questions
  induce pain (and make decision-maker anxious for a solution)

   – What effect does having a cramped warehouse have on your
     competitive position?
   – Could that lead to an increase in cost?
   – How does limited warehouse space affect productivity?
   – Have retrieval delays impacted customer service?

                      Implication Questions
Your friend John is a consultant who commutes in his 10 year old car from his home to
    his office, about 15 miles away. He travels frequently, using an airport 20 miles
    away, where he leaves the car in the long-term parking area.
When he’s not traveling, John often picks up out-of-town clients who are in town for
    meetings, shows them the local sights in the evening, or drives to other clients
    meetings in the city or suburbs
His wife has her own car, but has had to shuttle him to or from the repair shop on
    occasion and then to or from his office. That has caused them both to have to go to
    work late or leave early
You’re in John’s backyard on Saturday afternoon, when he mentions that he’s
    wondering what to do about his old car. He’s worried because the car has been in
    the repair shop twice lately.

Your task: develop the urgency of the problem by pointing out possible implications
        Implication Questions in SPIN Selling

Implication         Implication                 Implication   Implication

Implication                       Implication                 Implication

                           Implication Questions
Does that lead to…?                                         Does that create…?

               What effect does                                  Has that
               that have on…?                                   caused…?

                                                      Missed              Poor
     Unreliability          Inconvenience
                                                     Meetings            Image

 Has that                               Does that                  Did that
caused…?                               result in…?                 mean…?

         More                               Extra                        Lost
        Repairs                             Costs                      Business
                        Has that

  Implication questions develop something into a bigger problem                  28
Implication Questions are the most powerful of all questions
   •They help decision-makers see that the problem is serious
   enough to justify the hassle and cost of a solution.
   •They induce pain.
   •They build the consequences of the decision-maker’s problems
   •Make the decision-maker more anxious for a solution that will
   take the pain away
Hold back from early answers and instead ask implication
questions. Skillfully build the pain. Create a stronger need
before introducing solutions.

               Need-Payoff Questions

Questions about the value, importance, or usefulness of a

   – How would having a larger warehouse help?
   – How much would you save if we reduced retrieval time
     by 20%?
   – How important is it to not lose things in the warehouse?
   – Would more space help you maintain better stock
   – How happy would your boss be if there were significantly
     fewer customer complaints?
Need questions focus on solutions.
They get the decision-maker to tell you about the benefits your solution offers,
rather than forcing you to explain the benefits to them. (So instead of saying,
“The new warehouse will significantly reduce retrieval time;” you might ask the
need-payoff question, “how would a new warehouse reduce retrieval time.”)
Need-payoff questions are often the mirror image of implication questions.(So,
for example, a decision-maker might have a problem that the present system is
unreliable. One way to explore the problem might be to ask an implication
question such as “could that unreliability create waste that adds to your costs?”
The same idea could equally well be explored using a need-payoff question like,
“if you had better reliability, wouldn’t that cut waste and reduce costs?”)

  Issue you are pitching___________________________________




Need Pay-
                       Managing Crises
                                 John Daly
                            University of Texas
                               (512) 471-1948

“I have long observ’d one Rule which prevents any Inconvenience….It is simply this, to be
concern’d in no Affairs that I should blush to have made publick, and to do nothing but what
Spies may see & welcome.”
                                                        Benjamin Franklin

What crises will happen to your organization in the next five

              Potential Crises

“Crises define life. In them, you discover what you are”
                                   Allan Chalmers

“Every crisis offers you extra desired power”
                                   W.M. Marston

“Watch out for emergencies. They are your big chance”
                               Fritz Reiner

  In Mandarin, the word for crisis is wei-ji. It is composed
  of the characters for danger (wei) and opportunity (ji).

“When the satellite-TV truck is pulling into the corporate parking lot, it is
too late to discuss theories of crisis management”
                                    Howard Paster

“The real character of a leader, of a management team, is shown in a time
of crisis”
                                  Joseph Moglia

“What one decides to do in crises depends upon on one’s philosophy of
life, and that philosophy cannot be changed by an incident. If one hasn’t
any philosophy in crises, others make the decisions”
                                  Jeannette Rankin

“Next week there can’t be any crisis. My
schedule is already full”
                         Henry Kissinger
                         October 23, 1973

I. The Critical Importance of Crisis Management

II. Some Guiding Principles

      - You will face organizational crises

      - Every crisis tests your organization---its values, people,
      strategy, and reputation. There cannot be a learning curve
      when it comes to handling a crisis

      - Every crisis can enhance your organization or it can
      destroy your organization

      - Your goal, in every case, is to protect the long-term vitality
      of your firm, and its brand name (reputation)             38
Defining Crises

When a person or organization perceives an event as a
hazard or threat that they do not have the resources to
cope with in the normal way. It is a period of
disequilibrium A crisis is a major, unpredictable event
that has potentially negative results.

A.. There are many types of crises

                                 Economic Crises
          Legal Crises

                                             Political Crises
  Product Crises

                                                Criminal Activity
Natural Disasters

                                                   Personnel Crises

                    Competitor          Financial Crises
            Unexpected Crises are Expensive

World Trade Center Attack, September, 2001             $200 Billion

Kobe Earthquake, January, 1995                         $120 Billion

SARS (2003, first six months)                          $16.5 Billion

Chernobyl, April, 1986                                 $10 Billion

“Love Bug” Computer Virus, May 2000                    $8.75 Billion

Prestige Oil Tanker, November 2002                     $1 Billion

                                       Source: IBM Insights for Business Value, 2003
B. Crises often occur because of an interaction among:

                      Cultural factors

  Technical factors                        Organizational factors

                        Human factors
                       Emotional factors
C. Elements of a crisis

        Intense Scrutiny   Insufficient
          From Outside     Information

   Intense Scrutiny           Escalating Flow
     From Within                Of Events

                             Loss of
         Siege Mentality

D. Crises move along four dimensions

1. Crisis trigger uncertainty and a need for information. The
   challenge is that, by definition, information is lacking.

2. Difficulties come in waves. There is an avalanche of problems
   that cannot be ignored. One crisis creates a second crisis.

3. Organizational procedures and systems weaken, become
   disordered, and may backfire.

4. The organization becomes divided as the purpose, goals,
   and/or structures of the system are called into doubt.
Crisis Stages

              Stage Models of a Crisis

                  Signal Detection       Preparation
Pre-Crisis         Probing and
                    Prevention           Prevention

                    Damage               Recognition
 Crisis            Containment

Post-Crisis        Learning              Profiting

1. Avoiding the Crisis (Prevention)
                                                Ignorance is not bliss
      - avoid the “it won’t happen to us” attitude
      - are you actively working to avoid crises?
      - this is the signal detection phase; look for opportunities
      where crises might arise
      - make a list of everything that could happen; consider the cost
      of prevention…but be careful…
                - are you collecting data related to potential crises?
                - are you looking at the crises competitors face?
      - check the culture of the organization -- is bad news allowed
      to flow upward; do you punish whistleblowers
When are whistleblowers likely to communicate their concerns?

   -When there is no possibility of diffusing responsibility
   -When the probability or magnitude of loss in high
   -When the loss is salient (e.g., bodily harm rather than
   financial harm; when a large number of people are affected)
   -When the reporter perceives time pressure
   -When the issue is seen as immoral
   -When the organization does not emphasize self-interests
   over group interests
   -When the possibility of retaliation is small

                                   Billings, et al. 1980 (ASQ); Near & Miceli, JAP, 1986

Focus is critical
                    Weak      Strong

       Major                  Focus!

What enhances stakeholder crisis initiation?





                             Mitchell, et al., Acad Man Rev 1997)
                    Perceiving Risk
What makes us see something as risky

         What our heritage has taught us

             What we perceive we cannot control

                             What is immediate

                    What is readily and vividly available in our minds
                                                All of these are
                                                perceptions, not

(Risk equals Hazard x Probability x Outrage)

The Challenge:
• Technical experts focus on the hazard and misperceive (ignore)
•Public focuses on the outrage and misperceive hazard

                         Perceiving Risk

The Perception of the Nature of the Risk:

• to be involuntary (e.g. exposure to pollution) rather than voluntary (e.g.,
dangerous sports or smoking)
     -smokers who oppose nuclear power plants
• as inequitably distributed (some benefit while others suffer the
• as inescapable by taking personal precautions
• to arise from unfamiliar or novel sources
     -farmer vs. non-farmer agricultural chemicals
     -in the UK 8571 people died from smoking for every news story about
     smoking compared to 0.33 people per story on :mad cow” disease
• to result from man-made, rather than natural sources
                        Perceiving Risk
The Perception of the Nature of the Risk:

• to cause hidden and irreversible damage, e.g. through onset of illness many
years after exposure
• to pose some particular danger to small children or pregnant women or
more generally to future generations
• to threaten a form of death (or illness/injury) arousing particular dread
• to damage identifiable rather than anonymous victims
• to be poorly understood by science
• controlled by individual or controlled by someone else
     -driving vs. flying

                       Perceiving Risk
The Manner In Which The Risk Is Communicated:

• experience with dramatic accidents or risk events increases the
memorability and imaginability of the hazard, thereby heightening the
perception of risk; risks of a more everyday nature are underestimated
• large volumes of information about an event may serve as risk amplifiers
(e.g., mass media coverage)
• disputes among various stakeholders or risk assessors amplify risk
perceptions.. as subject to contradictory statements from responsible
sources (or, even worse, from the same source)
• reports which explain risks and the underlying processes that generate
them in simple terms attenuate risk perceptions
• cultivation hypothesis
30% of car accidents are caused by outside distractions.
What are the major causes of distractions?

          Adjusting radio/CD              11.4%
          Talking with passengers         10.9%
          Adjusting climate control       2.8%
          Eating/drinking                 1.7%
          Cell phone use                  1.5%

                                        Source: New York Times, December 26, 2003, page D7

                       Perceiving Risk
Demographic Characteristics:

• men to discount risk factors associated with technology more than
• the “white male effect”—white males consider the world less risky than
other groups—from smoking and sunbathing to nuclear meltdowns (30%
of males account for this---they find virtually no risk in anything)
• low income and poorly educated people are more concerned about
risks associated with technology
• risks to oneself are discounted relative to risks to the population at large
because individuals feel a greater sense of control
• cultures vary in their riskiness (e.g., Chinese are more willing to take
extreme financial risks)                                                 58
2. Preparing to Manage the Crisis
      - assume a crisis is going to happen            Planning
      - make plans to deal with crises before they happen
      - do you know what is critical to maintain your
      - plan ahead (business-contingency planning)
           crisis center?
            contingency plans?
            crisis team with assigned roles (a
           dedicated group of people working on it)?
            redundant systems (e.g.,
           communication, computers)?
            practice (fire drills)?
            regular updates and refreshers?
            contact lists                                59
During New York Mayor Giuliani's term as mayor, there were weekly
simulations: During his administration, there were weekly paper based
and electronic simulations. At the end of a staff meeting, each person
would open an envelope which contained a nightmare crisis. For
example, what if Sarin gas were released at a Knick’s game and 10,000
people were exposed. During the next 20 minutes, each senior
manager in the room had to articulate their group’s response and
work out collaboration with other responders.

- develop relationships with stakeholders (e.g., media,
suppliers); know who they are and prioritize them in
relationship to any crisis
- search for the second order effects--the devil is in the
- beware of overconfidence
- prepackage your virtues
    - have copious background information available

Crisis Scenarios                           Response Modules
 (e.g., shooting,                           (e.g., lockdown,
epidemic, power                             evacuation, grief
outage, terrorist                          management, media
   attack, fire)                                contact)

                    Matches scenarios to
                       modules (e.g.,
                      shooter triggers
                         lockdown)                          62
3. Recognizing the crisis                             Seeing It

      - it is critical to recognize when a crisis occurs…worry
      about the tipping point
      - don't misunderstand the crisis...don't focus solely on
      the technical aspects
      - never ignore perceptions; perceptions often cause,
      and almost always expand the crisis.
      - beware of crisis creep
      - focus on the interest of the consumer or end user
      - use independent investigators as well as insiders
      (outsiders often notice things insiders don’t)

4. Containing the Crisis                        It’s sink or swim

      - tell it all, tell it early, tell it yourself!
      - respond quickly; engage in some decisive actions
      quickly; triage...make the tough decisions fast
      - be present; have senior level involvement from the
      start (strength & availability)
      - understand the values of symbols
      - evaluate in human terms: people first, then the
      -know who you are (a corporate and personal set of
      principles to fall back upon)
      - keep the “business” going                          64
                                    “By withholding information for days (about
                                    the mistaken transplant), they (Duke
- FACTS                             University Medical School) simply ensured a
                                    continuing series of stories about, number
          F Find out what happened  one, the mistake, and number two, the fact
          A Accumulate information  that they weren’t being forthcoming about it”
          C Control the event
          T Tell your story
          S Survive and recover
- silence is not an option….communicate!
- it is better to admit what you don’t know than to offer
firm, but unfounded, statements in an attempt to reassure
- understand typical responses

Denial       Fear       Anger       Delay            Acceptance


- juggle conflicting advice from different experts and
- be careful of depending upon advice from people in
the unit that created the problem
- damage containment; make sure you limit the crisis
to the units where it happened...don't let it spread
- offer public apology for the experience
- beware of short-term solutions that breed long-term
- find a "devil's advocate“
- beware of being in the court of public opinion and
the court of law at the same time; the rules of
evidence are different                                 66
                              Offer Full
   What happened?
                                               Don’t mix facts
                                               with reassurance
                   What do I need to do?
Never Speculate;   (e.g., to protect myself)
  Offer Facts

                                      What is being done
                                    to correct the problem?

October 2001 Anthrax Crisis

Authorities initially:

     made statements that proved wrong
     tried to inform and reassure simultaneously
     limited flow of information to the public
     offered conflicting statements (Agency A said X; Agency B
    said not X)
     speculated about what might have happened
     offer vague warnings of what bad might happen while
    telling people to go on with their lives as always
     poorly managed the news

5. Resolving the Crisis
                                                 Getting over it
      - speed is everything
      - see things from the perspective of various
      - keep you focus
      -appeal to the rational, as opposed to emotional, part
      of people
      - emphasize corrective actions (what we doing to make
      sure this won’t happen again) over routine solutions
      (e.g., firing the responsible person)

The Nike case

• Announce an initiative to improve air quality in factories by
changing the adhesive materials
• Raise the minimum age for employees in factories
• Propose independent monitoring
• Make positive contributions to workers (education &
entrepreneurial opportunities)
• Independent and on-going research

                                         Sellnow & Brand, JACR, August 2001

The “Big” Mistake (Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Ted
Kennedy,….)…what should they have done?

C Confession: Admit you did it
C Contrition: Say you are sorry
C Conversion: Promise not to do it again
C Consequences: Accept responsibility

“Not long after (Kofi) Annan made it to the top (of the United
Nations), questions surfaced about possible mistakes he had made
during the Rwanda crisis. In response, he commissioned an
independent probe of his actions and those of the UN generally. The
Commission, headed by former Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar
Carlsson, concluded in December, 1999 that Annan and his
peacekeeping staff had failed to heed warnings of an impending
massacre, and it also faulted the United States and other Security
Council members for doing too little once the killings began. Annan
said he accepted the report’s findings, saying: “On behalf of the
United Nations, I acknowledge this failure and express my deep

                                  Source: Smithsonian, January 2003, pg. 37
6. Profit from the crisis
                                                       Smarter is better
       - learning from a crisis makes the crisis a valuable lesson
                - do you formally review crises or near crises?
               What was supposed to happen?
              What actually happened?
              What accounts for any difference?
              What can we learn?
                - do you do so without assigning blame?
                - do you devise training based upon the reviews?
                - do you generalize and apply beyond the
                immediate problem?
                - do you use unbiased review groups
       - there are immense marketing advantages from
       handling a crisis well                                   73
        Communication Strategies
Don’t say or do anything that you don’t want on the front page of
the Washington Post tomorrow.
                                 Donald Rumsfield

Attack the     Confronts; Threatens         Rumors and challenges; When there
Accuser        (e.g., lawsuit)              is identifiable and refutable attacker
Denial         “No crisis exists” with      Rumors and challenges
Excuse         Minimize responsibility;     Accidents, violence, malevolence &
               no intent; no control        natural disasters; don’t use when
                                            crisis is severe (you look petty)
Justify        Minimize perceived        Malevolence, accidents, natural dis-
               harm; victims deserved it asters; use when damage is minimal
Ingratiate     Praise stakeholders;         Only when your reputation is strong;
               recalls prior good deeds     suitable for any crisis
Corrective     Repair damages and           Accidents and Misdeeds
Action         insure no future crisis
Full Apology   Takes full responsibility;   Misdeeds
               asks forgiveness
                                                     Adapted from Toombs, 1999   75
When a Crisis Occurs You Have Many People
With Whom You Need to Communicate


Employees &                        Media
Stakeholders                      & Public

With employees and other important internal and
external stakeholders

            1. be open and honest
            2. give as much information as you can
                      - be honest
                      - suggest ways to respond to questions
            3. keep the routine: keep thing moving as
            much as possible
            4. limit involvement to key people
            5. understand their concerns

With regulators

   Basic principle: You need to have developed, trustworthy,
   and positive relationships with regulators prior to the

With the media

   Basic principle: Say something---If you aren't prepared to talk,
   reporters will find someone who is.

      Guiding principle:
                                     Never argue with anyone
                                     who buys ink by the barrel

With the media

   Basic principle: Say something---If you aren't prepared to talk,
   reporters will find someone who is.

      Guiding principle:

Communicate With Compassion

   •   showing concern is the top priority
   •   focus on the people affected
   •   saying you are sorry is not admitting guilt
   •   reassure: demonstrate how it won't happen again

   Beware: Experts who are responsible for projects involving
     potential risk often define the risks more narrowly than

Know What You Know

•   state clearly that you do not know all the facts
•   state the facts as you know them and keep repeating them
             get it right, get it quick, get it out, get it
             over...your problems won't improve with age
•   stick to the facts
•   responses need to be timely (the first 48 hours means more
    than the next two years)
•   avoid the perils of the dribble
•   don't over or underestimate the problem
•   develop a core message
•   be open and honest; speak clearly and directly
             - avoid “technospeak” jargon and acronyms
             - nothing is really "off the record" and "no
             comment“ doesn't work
•   the best offense is a good defense
            - be the first to tell your side of the story
            - let others react to your version of the facts
            - set the tone for the public debate
            - generate an alternative story; distraction can
•   if the media makes a mistake, notify and correct
•   consistent information is a must; the media is looking
    for conflicting information
•   remember the WIIFT; figure out who cares and why

Handling the Questions

•   everything comes from one person; select a
    spokesperson; someone who is seen as high ranking
    and has some history with the media
•   take time to think through answers and then make sure
    your answers are brief
             - when did you know about the problem?
             - what did you do about it?
             - what are you going to do?
             - what will the effects of this crisis be?
             - if it’s available, let them have it
•   if you promise something, make sure you deliver (trust)
•   if it doesn't matter, let them have it

Go on the Offensive

•   If you are in the right, go on the offensive
    • find out where they are wrong
         • biased reporting
         • witnesses with agendas

Always remember: you can't win
a fight with the media

Media Skills

General Principles

 Have a simple, straightforward, core message
 Short answers are better. Use complete sentences (less likely to be
 Avoid hypothetical questions
 Offer reporter business card and/or short biography with relevant
 Never say “no comment.”If you cannot give an answer, explain why.
 If you don’t know, say so and find out
 Understand the nature of deadlines
 There is nothing that is “off the record.”
 Treat reporters equally. Don’t play favorites
Media Skills
 General Principles

  Learn to bridge
  Anticipate difficult questions and plan your answers
  Create word pictures (analogies, metaphors)
  Avoid jargon and acronyms
  Don’t get bogged down with statistics
  For the audience, offer a bottom line—who cares?
  Have several quotable sound bites ready beforehand
  Admit to bad news if it is necessary but frame it positively
  Don’t let things like telephone calls interrupt you
  Even when a reporter is not taking notes, assume that what you say
 is being noted
Media Skills

 Radio Interviews

 • Radio gets across more of your message and less of your personality
 • Be able to clearly articulate your key point in 20 seconds or less
 • Always assume the microphone is on
 • Sit up straight—you’ll sound more animated (in telephone interviews,
 stand up)
 • Trust the sound person to set levels. Speak in a normal voice
 • Avoid statistics and numbers…you’ll lose your audience
 • Answer in complete sentences. That puts what you say in context

Media Skills                                 When Roger Ailes, head of the Fox
                                             network, was evaluating potential
                                             hosts, he would watch the television
                                             with the sound off. “If there was
Television Interviews                        nothing happening on the screen in
                                             the way the host looked or moved
                                             that made me interested enough to
• Remember, television is a visual medium    stand up and turn the sound up, then
                                             I knew that the host was not a great
     - look good                             television personality”
     - create verbal pictures
• Appear open, relaxed, and responsive
• Look at the reporter, not the camera
• Maintain eye-contact. Looking away makes you look nervous and is
• Avoid chairs that swivel
• Stay cool. Never let them see you “sweat”
• Sit up and lean slightly forward
Media Skills

 Television Interviews

 • Practice appearance tricks (e.g, sit on your jacket, socks to the
 calves, scarf or turtleneck is blushing)
 • Avoid photo-gray glasses and shiny or noisy jewelry
 • Everything you say is “on the record.”
 • Make your point first, then back it up with data
 • Use the language of the audience
 • Surprised---pause and look thoughtful…not surprised

Handling Rumors

                     Managing Rumors
Characteristics of Rumors

   • Unconfirmed (“improvised news”)
   • Emerge when information is not readily available. They are effort after
   • Rumors get increasingly stereotypic as they move across people
   (stereotypic inconsistent information fades and stereotypic consistent
   information gets stronger)
   • Social integration
   • Speed
   • Kernel of truth
   • Accuracy
        • grapevine is 80% accurate
   • Certain sorts of people are more likely to spread rumors
        • high anxious
        • low critical set – ability & willingness to challenge information
   • Spring from collective concern                                          93
                    Managing Rumors
Rumors are Common

Contamination Rumors

   •   McDonald’s hamburgers contain worms (drop in sales of as much as 30%)
   •   Syringes found in Pepsi cans
   •   KFC devises a new kind of chicken
   •   Exploding Pop Rocks
   •   AIDS-related rumors

Conspiracy Rumors

   •   Proctor & Gamble being linked to Satanism
   •   Euro rumors
   •   Muslims believing the Indian government was given children “polio” drops
       that made them infertile                                         94
                          Managing Rumors

Rumors are Common

Financial Rumors

   •   Company-based (e.g., takeover rumors)
   •   People-based (e.g., replacing CEO; Michael Jordan reentering basketball)
   •   Economic/political (e.g., devaluation; leadership changes)

Trial Balloons

   •   Government (e.g., war related; possible regulations)
   •   Corporate (e.g., new corporate policies)

                   Managing Rumors

Rumors are Common


   •   Turnover/layoffs
   •   Succession/promotions
   •   Job quality
   •   Errors
   •   Customers
   •   Changes/transitions

                    Managing Rumors

Characteristics of Rumors

   • Size of victim organization: The larger the firm, the greater the
   likelihood there will be rumors about the organization (e.g., so many
   rumors about Coke, McDonald’s, P&G)
   • Unhappy people spread more rumors about the firm they are unhappy
   with: (e.g., negative worth of mouth)
   • Rumors can be self-fulfilling: A rumor can create just what was
   discussed (e.g., buy on rumor, “sell on news,” rumor of plant closing
   demoralizes work force; bank runs; Emulex rumor)

                         Mark Jakob
                        sends bogus
                        press release

                  Managing Rumors

Types of Rumors
           “Bogies” reflect feared or anxiety provoking outcomes
           “Wedge drivers” intended to divide group loyalties or
           undermine relationships
Positive   “Pipedreams” reflect desires and hopes



                                          Bogies         Wedge drivers        Pipedreams

                                       Source: Types: Knapp, 1944; Amount: Kamins et al., 1997)   98
                    Managing Rumors
            Both situational &
                Importance                                              Repetition;
                                                                       Physical Cues
There is a                              x
multiplicative                      Credibility
relationship among
                                   (Plausibility)                                      = Rumors
the four. Control one
and rumors dissipate                 Of Rumor
                                 Source: Ambiguity, Importance: Allport & Postman, 1947; Ambiguity: Prasad, 1935; Anxiety: Rosnow,1991)
                  Managing Rumors

Organizational Grapevines


    - informal
    - often carries information that would be inappropriate to publicly
    announce via formal channels
    - can serve quite positive functions (e.g., reduce anxiety, validation,
    information, venting negative information)
    - measure of integration—can enhance cohesiveness
    - majority of organizational messages carried by grapevine
    - carries more accurate than inaccurate information
    - stronger in organizations that emphasize secrecy
    - while common throughout, secretaries play key role

             Managing Rumors

                  Stages of Rumors

Generation   Evaluation     Dissemination      Demise

Ambiguity    Vividness      Ambiguity       Boredom
Anxiety      Repetition     Time            Relevancy
             Plausibility   Relevancy       Diverted interest
             Relevancy      Newness

                   Managing Rumors

Handling Rumors Proactively (Before they Start)

     Treat any sign of rumor seriously: Don’t
     hide from them

          Explain the unexplained: Constantly
          offer information

               Maintain Trust & Comfort: Reduce
               anxiety and beware of the secret tests
               people have

                      Anticipate Rumors: Imagine where they
                      may come from and plan for it

                          Offer information resources: Where can
                          I turn to for accurate information       102
                   Managing Rumors

Handling Rumors as They Start                      • What is being said?
                                                   • Who is saying it?
                                                   • Media involvement?
                                                   • Threat to us?
     Gather information
                                                   • Where has it spread?
                                                   • Motives for rumor?
      Never give an answer that may not be         • Sources of uncertainty & anxiety?
      true                                         • Getting worse? How are people

        Keep people busy (distracted), don’t let
        them wallow in the rumor

                   Managing Rumors
                                                 • Base refutation on truthful information
                                                 • Insure message consistency
                                                 • Easily understood information
                                                 • Don’t repeat rumor
                                                 • Trustworthy & credible source
Handling Rumors Once Established                 • Speedy
                                                 • Timing (deny after hearing; not before)
       Directly refute (but refutation may       • Add positive information
       spread the rumor and strengthen it)

           Direct attention away from rumor (e.g.,
           McDonald’s reminds consumers of
           positive aspects of company)

               Label it as rumor (turn the generally
               negative image of rumors into an

                  Ignore the rumor (trusting that most
                  rumors dissipate on their own)

                    Ridicule the rumor (attack the source’s
                    motives; point out how silly rumor is)                     104
                   Managing Rumors

Handling Rumors Once Established

       Confirm the truth: verify the facts
       (honesty calms; kernel of truth)

           Communicate with opinion leaders (know
           who is trusted and communicate with

               Keep information channels open

                    Reassure people that business (or
                    whatever) will continue

                      Managing Rumors

True Rumor                                    False Rumor
- confirmation                                - refute
- product recall or                           - positive advertising
modification                                  - disseminate accurate
- public relations                            information
campaign                                      - legal actions

                         Credible                 Non-credible
                         - deny                   - information campaign
                         - threaten lawsuit       - reassociation
                                                  - disassociation
                                                  - threaten lawsuit

                                                       Brodin, 1995
                   Managing Rumors


    • Entertainment: Fun and interesting
    • Status
    • Relational maintenance
    • Aggression
    • Record keeping
    • Control


    • Negative
    • Indicator of integration/solidarity
    • Involving/interesting
               Managing Rumors

                 Rumor             Gossip        News

Significant        Yes               No           Yes
                    No           Yes or no        Yes
People        Yes (but not      Yes (sense of
                                                Yes or no
Oriented      intimate) or no   intimacy)
Valence           + or -              -          + or -


Whistle-blowers have greater impact when:

   • they are perceived to be valued members of the organization
   • they are not seen as alienated from the organization
   • they are seen as sharing the values of the organization
   • they are seen as:
                credible (competent & trustworthy)
   • they are willing to be identified from the outset instead of
   requesting anonymity

                                            Source: Near & Miceli, Acad Man Rev, 1995

Whistle-blowing Research

   Internal whistle-blowing is less effective when the issue is of
   great importance to the organization while external whistle-
   blowing will be more effective

   The greater the evidence (e.g., written documents, other eye-
   witnesses) the more effective the whistle-blowing

   Whistle-blowing is more effective the less ambiguous the issue is

                                            Source: Near & Miceli, Acad Man Rev, 1995
The Critical Incident

A particular case: The critical incident: An abnormal situation in
which people experience or perceive a threat to life or safety (.e.g.,
threats or acts of violence either from co-workers or the public;
suicide or sudden death of a worker; job accident or an act of God)

        - keep everyone informed
        - offer appropriate professional counseling
        - expect some long-term effects
        - time and absence problems
        - increase in accidents

- deterioration in work quality and productivity
- short term memory loss
- increased fear of danger or injury
- poor morale
- isolation from co-workers
- increased turnover
- strained relationships

devise a crisis response plan
        the plan should include
        - guidelines for identifying events and situations that
        need intervention
        - procedures to follow when crisis occurs, including
        chain of response
        - education of relevant personal
establish communication
        - who will be in charge
        - who will be the source of information
        - how will people access this person
establish inclusion
        - who will be eligible for help
        - will families be included
Keys to Product Recalls

- understand why you want a recall
     - safety
     - customer satisfaction
     - liability
     - reputation
- brief company representatives (e.g., dealers) before announcing
the recall…you need these people ti both support the recall and
support the company
- respond quickly
- understand that perception matters


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