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Building Advocacy Skills

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Building Advocacy Skills Powered By Docstoc
					Communication Effectiveness

           John A. Daly
        University of Texas
          (512) 471-1948
       daly@mail.utexas.edu
              Communication is Key to Success

  The most important skill to be successful in business is:

           Communication                            70%
Understanding the Business             58%
         Strategic Planning          46%
      Technical Proficiency    10%




                                       CIO Magazine survey of 500 heads of IT, USA Today, 5/20/02


                                                                                           2
We Are Inundated With Information Today


   One week of the New York Times carries more
 information than person in the sixteenth century
               digested in a lifetime




                                 Source: Robert Levine, Power of Persuasion, 2003, 137


                                                                                  3
People Quickly Forget Information They Are
               Exposed To




                              Spitzer, 1939



                                              4
    Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
I. Organize Your Message for Impact
  A. Know your goal and purpose
  B. Drop what is unimportant
  C. Chunk what remains
  D. Structure your information for memorability
      - Primacy/recency                    Primacy   Recency
                                           Effect    Effect
      - When each works


                                                        5
                         Creating The Elevator Speech

                                             If somebody can't explain it to me in one long
                                             sentence, I'm not interested.“
                                                                               Sam Zell
Underlying rationale
         - people are busy
         - people are less interested in what you do than you are
         - people are less knowledgeable about what you do than you are


What it is:
              - a statement of your value proposition—its promise to deliver
              - see it from the perspective of your ―client‖
              - don’t love your product, love what it does
              - resolve ―pain‖
              - answer the WIIFM question
              - it needs to be consistent across the unit
              - your goal is to elicit a question from the listener
                                                                                              6
                 Creating The Elevator Speech



Ground rules
         - short (no more than 2 minutes)
         - simple English; no jargon
         - concise
         - passion
         - devise a ―tag line‖
         - make it understandable
                    - focus
                    - example
                    - analogy
         - make it valuable
                    - WIIFM
                    - data that mean something
                                                 7
                     Creating The Elevator Speech


Practice (for your team):

          We are _____ who offers you ________ that will (solve) ______
          which will allow you to ________


Questions to ask:

          - What are we renown for?
          - If you asked our ―clients‖ who we are and what we would do, what would
          they say?
          - What would happen to our organization if our unit disappeared tomorrow?
          - What is the biggest problem we have solved for our organization?
          - How do I contribute?
                                                                               8
                     Creating The Elevator Speech


Challenges
         - sounds too generic
         - sounds too ―canned‖
         - too many acronyms
         - all how, no why, what, who, or so what
         - too detailed
         - too much enthusiasm
         - not getting to the point, the ―so what‖ question




                                                              9
    Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

II. Be Redundant
 A. Defining redundancy
     - repetition is not redundancy
 C. Redundancy makes you more interesting
 B. Redundancy improves memorability
     - always offer two examples of a concept

     - beware of seductive details
     - offer concrete and visual concepts
     - follow the tell-show-do-respond method   10
Postmessage Attitudes
Towards Raising Price
of Local Newspaper                                  Strong
                                                  Arguments
             Attitude

                                                         Weak
                                                       Arguments



                        1     3            5
                            Repetitions
                                          (Cacioppi & Petty, 1980)
                                                                     11
What matters to
employees?

             A. Humor
             B. Leaders
             C. Salary
             D. Hours
             E. Communication




                          12
    Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

Retention is Improved with Redundancy

         - Tell: Explain the concept
         - Show: Demonstrate it (or show how to apply)
         - Do: Learner applies the concept
         - Respond: Reinforce/Redirect

The shorter the links in the learning chain, the stronger the chain.
Teach new concepts in small ―chunks‖ so very little
time elapses between each link in the chain.

Not: T-------------->S-------------->D--------------->R
But: T---->S---->D---->R;---->T---->S---->D---->R
                                                                 13
People Retain More Information When They Are Engaged




                                                    90%
                                         75%
                               50%
                     30%
           20%
 10%
What we   What we   What we   What we   What we   What we learn
 read      hear      see       see &     say       when talking
                                hear              and interacting


                                                                14
    Address the different preferences people have for
                       information

             Auditory: ―resonate,‖ ―speechless,‖ discuss,‖ ―On
             the same wavelength,‖ ―Loud and clear,‖ ―Rings a
             bell.‖


Common       Visual: ―focus,‖ ―reveal,‖ ―clarify,‖ ―illustrate,‖ ―It
modalities   appears to me,‖ ―We see eye to eye,‖ ―The future
             looks bright,‖ ―The solution flashed before my eye.‖

             Kinesthetic: ―touch,‖ ―tangible,‖ ―hold,‖ ―solid,‖
             ―Scratch the surface,‖ ―Firm foundation,‖ and ―Heated
             argument.‖
                                                                          15
                                           Also olfactory and gustatory
_ Picture this                   _ I see what you mean
_ Focus on                       _ It’s music to my ears
_ This resonates with me         _ I felt it in my bones
_ I’m speechless                 _ It appears to me
_ Do you grasp this?             _ Loud and clear
_ We’ll scrape up the money      _ Hold on for a minute
_ Let me clarify this            _ Show me what you mean
_ Listen to this                 _ I hear you
_ Can you handle this?           _ Firm foundation
_ I’m a little hazy about this   _ My view is
_ Let’s discuss this             _ Tell me again
_ Let’s tackle the problem       _ Scratch the surface
                                            From O’Connor & Seymour, 1995

                                                                   16
     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

III. Focus on Your Listener’s Schema
    A. A schema is a category system people have for
        organizing information


    B. Schemas help people remember information




                                                       17
   21           49        83          74           58
           87                    6      22
                     81
 57 1       61           79 46
         41      13  53         62 42 30             14
                            88
    17                       18             2 70
    37     9 69         33           50              54
           77 5                80        66
                                  10                   84
73     25     45 65 29 38                      26
                                        34
  51       31            78              56
                               24                 12
                    43             68         64
     15 71 39 27            82        76
            3          19 86 40           36    20
      35       67                       60
 59                         32   48                   72
           23      7 63               8     4 28
        75
                47        81 16 52 44
    11 55           85
                                                  18
                                   The Elevator Problem

The manager of a large office building has been receiving an increasing number of
complaints about the building’s elevator service, particularly during rush hours. Several
of the long term tenants in the building have threatened to move out unless the service is
improved. In response, the manager recently inquired into the possibility of adding one or
two elevators to the building. Although it would be feasible, the only elevator company in
the area has a six month backlog of orders. As an assistant to the manager, you were
asked to come up with a plan to get two new elevators installed within three months. You
must present the plan at the next staff meeting.

Please circle one problem statement

1. To get two elevators within three months        5. To keep upset tenants from moving
2. To improve elevator service in the building     6. To keep the offices fully rented
3. To get more people out of the building faster   7. To keep the manager happy with me
4. To keep the tenants in the building happy       8. To keep my job

List several possible solutions for the problem statement you’ve chosen
1.___________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
2.___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
                                                                         19
this exercise was devised by CRA
      Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
III. Focus on Your Listener’s Schema, (cont’d.)
    C. Schemas aid people in understanding
       - The problem statement you choose
        shapes the solutions you generate
              - always make sure there is agreement
              about what the problem is
              - when no solution seems to work,
               change the statement of the problem
         fight to define the problem--whoever wins the
                problem, determines the solutions
                                                         20
Recently, the Federal government mandated that every car contain
air bags for the driver and front seat passenger. After their
introduction, a number of small children, and some adults of small
stature, have been killed when the bags opened (even after a crash
at very slow speeds). What might be the problem statements one
could develop for this?




                                                              21
  Recently, the Federal government mandated that every car contain air bags for the driver
  and front seat passenger. After their introduction, a number of small children, and some
  adults of small stature, have been killed when the bags opened (even after a crash at very
  slow speeds). What might be the problem statements one could develop for this?

             Problem Statement                                               Potential Solution

People are improperly using airbags and seat         Safety education; warning labels; enforce seat belt
belts due to a lack of knowledge (behavioral)        laws; pedal extensions

The regulations are outdated and inflexible          Modify regulations; Eliminate unbelted tests; higher
about the design (e.g., Federal standard says        deployment threshold; depower airbags; free industry
that the bag must protect median adult male          of regulations that preclude new ideas
in head-on crash at 30 mph) (regulatory)
The technology is crude; one size fits all;          Government should encourage ―smart‖ bags; on-off
there are not enough incentives for research         switches; deactivation on demand; fund research
(technological)
Bag manufacturers are greedy; they created a Legal actions; government regulations; mandate
cheap design; they don’t offer appropriate   better technology regardless of cost
warnings; misleading ads (air bags as fluffy
pillows) (corporate greed)
                                                                                                                  A
                                 From David J. Houston & Lilliard E. Richardson, “The Politics of Air Bag Safety: 22
                                 Competition among Problem Definitions”
     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

III. Focus on Your Listener’s Schema, (cont’d.)
   D. Schemas can explain why people often
       misunderstand what we are saying
            - Listeners assume you are talking about
             one ―category‖ and you are talking about
             another
            - Listeners ―fill in the blanks‖—they
             assume everything goes into a category
              even if you didn’t mention

                                                        23
     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

III. Focus on Your Listener’s Schema, (cont’d.)
   E. Use schemas to enhance your effectiveness

    1. You can adapt your message to your listener’s
      schema
      2. You can create a new schema for your listener




                                                     24
     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

IV. Meanings are in people, not in words
    or behavior
   A. Words don’t mean, people do
      - Cross-cultural misunderstandings
        happen because people assume words
        have meaning




                                              25
      Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
•   The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?”
    prompted them to expand advertising into Mexico. It was soon brought
    to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are you lactating?”
•   Coors put its slogan “Turn it loose” into Spanish, where it was read as
    “Suffer from diarrhea.”
•   Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an
    American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

•   Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” translated into “Pepsi
    brings your ancestors back from the grave,” in Chinese.
•   Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender
    chicken” was translated into Spanish as: “It takes an aroused man to
    make a chicken affectionate.”




                                                                         26
Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

Even within a culture misunderstandings arise
because people assume words have meaning

 - Mrs. Jones is an older woman. How old is she?
 - Jack smokes too many cigarettes. How many does
 he smoke each day?
 - Court collects records. How many records does he
 have?
 - Mary makes a lot of money each month. How much
 does she make?


                                                      27
     Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages

IV. Meanings are in people, not in words
    or behavior, (cont’d.)
What shapes meaning?

      - need for inclusion
      - need for control
      - need for affection
      - need for efficacy
      When a need isn’t met, everything you say gets
      interpreted in terms of that unmet need
                                                       28
           Inclusion   Control   Affection   Efficacy
Person 1
Person 2
Person 3
Person 4
Person 5


                                                   29
Maslow’s
Hierarchy      Self
             Actualize

              Esteem

               Social

               Safety

            Physiological
                            30
      Marketing Strategies Based on Maslow’s
                   Needs Theory

                      PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS

             Vitamins, herbal supplements, medicines, low-fat foods,
 Products
             exercise equipment, fitness clubs

             Quaker Oatmeal--‖Oh, what those oats can do!‖
 Marketing   Avlimal—‖Reclaim your sensuality.‖
approaches   Kaiser-Permanente--‖More people turn to us for good health.‖
 Products    Cargill—‖Nourishing ideas, nourishing people.‖
             Advil--‖Advanced medicine for pain.‖


                                                                        31
       Marketing Strategies Based on Maslow’s
                    Needs Theory


                           SAFETY NEEDS

             Car accessories, burglar alarm systems, retirement investments,
 Products
             insurance, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

             Allstate Insurance--‖You’re in good hands with Allstate.‖
 Marketing   Ford Motor Company--‖Only your mother is more obsessed with
approaches      your safety.‖
 Products    Lysol Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner--‖This is no place for germs.‖
             Merrill Lynch--‖A tradition of trust.‖


                                                                         32
   Marketing Strategies Based on Maslow’s
                Needs Theory

                     BELONGINGNESS NEEDS


 Products    Beauty aids, entertainment, clothing


             Carnival Cruise Lines--‖The most popular cruise line in the
 Marketing      world.‖
approaches   Pepsi--‖Join the Pepsi Generation.‖
 Products    Dr. Pepper—‖I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper,…wouldn’t you…‖
             Lady Foot Locker--‖One store. Every woman.‖


                                                                           33
     Marketing Strategies Based on Maslow’s
                  Needs Theory


                           ESTEEM NEEDS


 Products    Clothing, cars, jewelry, liquors, hobbies, beauty spa services



             Jeep--‖There’s only one.‖
 Marketing
             Movado Museum Watch--‖The making of a legendary classic.‖
approaches
             Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin--‖Pour something priceless.‖
 Products
             BMW--‖The ultimate driving machine.‖



                                                                              34
      Marketing Strategies Based on Maslow’s
                   Needs Theory

                   SELF-ACTUALIZATION NEEDS


 Products    Education, cultural events, sports, hobbies



             Nike--‖Just do it.‖
 Marketing
             Outward Bound Schools--‖The adventure lasts a lifetime.‖
approaches
             Army—‖Be all that you can be!‖
 Products
             Lexus—‖The passionate pursuit of perfection.‖



                                                                        35
     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
                                                                                 36
Creating and Maintaining Trust
   Reliability       Consistency in messages &
 (consistency)               standards

     Honesty
                   No Lies or false feedback
 (keep promises)
     Faith
   (Good will)                                 Trust
  Vulnerability            Engaging in behaviors desired by
    (Open)                 other but not by self; no misplaced
                              benevolence; trusting others
  Competency
                    Consistent business performance;
   (Knows)           Dealing effectively with problems
                                                           37
                           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

                                                               38
                             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




                                                                             39
     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


                                               40
           WIIFM
Person 1
Person 2
Person 3
Person 4
Person 5


                   41
     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
                                                            42
         Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
  V. Be strategic in communicating your
     messages (cont’d.)
            Face to Face
More Cues
                 Videoconference
More Urgent
More Timely Feedback      Telephone
 More Tailored Messages
                               E-Forums
                                   E-Mail          Greater Certainty
                                                    Less Complexity
                                          Letter    Routine Messages

                                          Flyer/Magazine
                                                             43
 Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
V. Be strategic in communicating your messages
                     (cont’d)

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


                                           44
      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
  communication
– 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
                                                              45
          Enhancing the Clarity of Your Messages
 VI. 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?”



                                                                       46
Types of                                                  Thought
Questions       Typical Response     Questioner
                                                         Provoking
                                      Control
                                                  Time


   Closed              Yes/No           High       Low       Low




    Content           Facts


                  Explanations,
                 hypotheses, and
    Open         underlying issues        Low     High     High

              Richness of Response
                                                            47
    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”




                                              48
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‖


                                                        49
   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



                                                     50
      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?____________
                                                                       51
VII. Managing Rumors and Gossip

  A rumor is an unverified proposition for belief that bears topical
  relevance for persons actively involved in its dissemination
                                    Rosnow & Kimmel, 2000


  •They are purportedly factual but lack verification (as opposed to
  news)
  •They are largely about issues of significance (as opposed to
  gossip)



                                                                       52
                        Managing Rumors
Characteristics of Rumors

   • Unconfirmed (―improvised news‖)
   • Emerge when information is not readily available. They are effort after meaning
   in uncertain situations
   • Rumors offer people a sense of control
   • Rumors get increasingly stereotypic as they move across people (stereotypic
   inconsistent information fades and stereotypic consistent information gets
   stronger)
   • Rumors lose much of their detail as they are passed along—up to 70%
   (leveling)
   • Yet certain details are highlighted (sharpening)




                                                                              53
                         Managing Rumors
Characteristics of Rumors

   • 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; they are collective problem solving




                                                                                54
                    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                                         55
                          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)



                                                                          56
                   Managing Rumors

Rumors are Common

Job-Related

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




                                     57
                    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




                                                                       58
                    Managing Rumors
Types of Rumors

             “Bogies” reflect feared or anxiety provoking outcomes (Dread
             rumors). They are dread rumors
Negative
             “Wedge drivers” intended to divide group loyalties or undermine
             relationships


 Positive     “Pipedreams” reflect desires and hopes (Wish Rumors)

                                                75%




                                                                    18%
                                                                                       7%

                                               Bogies         Wedge drivers        Pipedreams


                                            Source: Types: Knapp, 1944; Amount: Kamins et al., 1997)
                    Managing Rumors
            Both situational &
              dispositional
                                                                Rumors represent
Anxiety                                                         collective problem solving
         x
    Ambiguity                                  Relevancy

                    x
                Information
                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: 60
                                                                                                                           Rosnow,1991)
                  Managing Rumors

Organizational Grapevines

Characteristics

    - 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


                                                                        61
             Managing Rumors

                  Stages of Rumors


Generation   Evaluation     Dissemination      Demise

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




                                                        62
                   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
                                                                   63
                   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
                                                   reacting?

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




                                                                             64
                   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
               advantage)

                  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)
                                                                                65
                   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
           them)

               Keep information channels open

                    Reassure people that business (or
                    whatever) will continue



                                                        66
                      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
                                                                           67
                  Managing Rumors
Gossip

Functions

    • Recreational/Entertainment: Fun and interesting
         • a form of story telling
    • Status
    • Relational maintenance
    • Aggression
    • Record keeping/Informational
         • evolutionary utility ―grooming at a distance‖
    • Control
         • teaching people how to behave (conform)




                                                           68
                  Managing Rumors
Characteristics of Gossip

    • Negative
    • Indicator of integration/solidarity
         • a measure of intimacy
         • demonstration of confidence
         • a way of keeping outsiders ―out‖
    • Involving/interesting
    • Highly efficient
    • Gender differences
         • women may do more
         • women gossip more about relationships
         • women respond more negatively to false gossip
         • men believe they need to respond to gossip more than women;
         men more likely to respond to gossip about them by directly
         talking to supposed gossiper

                                                                    69
               Managing Rumors

                 Rumor             Gossip         News

Significant        Yes               No            Yes
Evidence-
                    No            Yes or no        Yes
based
People        Yes (but not      Yes (sense of
                                                 Yes or no
Oriented      intimate) or no   intimacy)
Evaluative       May be               Is            No

Valence           + or -        + but mostly -    + or -


                                                             70

				
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