March 13, 2009
Director of Communications Integration
What is a potentially
Multiple computer privacy breaches
Death of Sebastian Ferrero
Closing of Shands AGH
College of Medicine admissions
So what do you do when you face
a situation that could portray not
only your department or college in
a negative light - but the entire
Before you call me . . .
Assemble the facts:
Who did it impact?
Why wasn’t this prevented?
What are we doing about it?
What are our strengths and
Next . . .
Generate some candidates for
In very high visibility instances, a single
spokesman is the most effective to
ensure the message is consistent
The most obvious person for
spokesman is not always the best
Next . . .
Craftyour main message. Decide
what you want people to remember
Message needs to be clear
Message needs to be concise
And SHORT!!!!! 28 words or so
If YOU are the one talking . . .
Use common sense
Don’t speculate. It’s fine to say, “I
wish we knew more” or “We’re
working to determine what
Don’t feel compelled to give an
interview just because a reporter
Also . . .
Be empathetic and caring:
1. Remember to acknowledge others
2. Use phrases such as “We’re sorry”
or “We feel terrible.”
Finally . . .
Stay on message with phrases such as:
“What’s important to remember…”
“I can’t answer that question, but I can tell
“Before I forget, I want to tell your
“Let me put that in perspective…”
And my favorite: “I wouldn’t characterize it
that way - instead…”