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Dealing with the media - silence is not usually a good strategy

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When an issue related to your interests becomes public, a question many struggle with is whether to dive in with your two cents worth, or to stay out of it.

 

There's no one size fits all for this one. There are times, for sure, when it is best to keep your head down, but not often. Nine times out of ten you should be weighing in on behalf of your company, industry or organization.

 

The reason is that if the issue affects your organization, it is usually in your interests to get your views out there because if you don't, the issue will be driven by others, who's agenda may not coincide with yours.

 

Or, as Ronald Rhody, former executive with the Bank of America put it when he developed his rules for proactive media relations: “No contest was ever won from the sidelines. Be players, not spectators.” Another of his rules – “Fear of controversy or criticism is a luxury no institution in today's society can afford. Silence never swayed any masses and timidity never won any ball games”.

 

The other large point on this is the misguided belief that if you don't comment, the issue will go away. Usually, no. Mind you sometimes adding your comments may keep it alive a little longer when you would just as soon see it die, but most of the time the media will just go to someone else; often someone who's views may do your side more harm than good.

 

I want to go back to that point of commenting keeping the issue alive. Usually, there are pros and cons, and you have to weigh them.  While you might just as soon see the story fade from the limelight, keeping it alive is often the tradeoff; the price you have to pay to get your side presented. But if it isn't, if the story runs its course without your views included, you have to ask if you are OK with the impression that is left.

 

This is just scratching the surface on the whole issue of dealing with the media. In a future blog I'll get into the pros and cons a bit more. And if I can figure out what I'm doing wrong in editing and uploading in iMovie, I'll throw up some relevant video on this issue from our media training workshops. 

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