Public Relations: The “Truth or Dare” Scare

Posted by on July 21, 2008 in Affiliate Marketing, Business Management, Business Start Up Advice, Marketing [ 0 Comments ]

“Truth or Dare?

Remember the kid’s game “Truth or Dare?” You’re asked to either answer a question (with the truth of course) or be summoned to a yet-to-be-named perilous activity known as the dare. Of course, there’s risk of complete and total humiliation either way…the truth could reveal something utterly embarrassing and a dare could grant you the opportunity to completely mortify yourself. But choose you must…or you simply don’t play.

Dared to Spin

In the world of business, you’d be surprised how often I’m asked to choose dare. Since I’m the “PR guy,” when briefing the press on whatever the matter of the day might be, rather than choose to tell the exact truth, I’m dared to “spin” it. The rub with “spinning” a story is that you have utterly no inkling about what might happen. It’s tremendously risky and the upside isn’t so great. On one hand, it might be relatively harmless and you escape with a grand victory. On the other hand, more times than not, it can cause great humiliation to yourself or your company and it won’t take long for you to wish you could go back and take the “Truth” option instead.

The Wisdom of Truth

Working with the media is an exhilarating experience providing great opportunities. It’s a great tool that is helpful for spreading the word about your company or product. But to keep the trust of a reporter and therefore ensure future collaboration, choosing the “truth” is always the wisest decision. Choosing to “spin” only erodes your credibility and cheapens your company’s reputation.

Far and away, the best kind of story you can provide the media is always rooted in the truth. Even when it’s bad news…here are some tips when you dare to tell the truth:

  • Ensure accuracy. No matter if the facts are good or bad, you want to ensure the information you share with the media is accurate. In bad situations, take your lumps up front and let your bad story be a one-day story.
  • If you make a mistake, don’t worry…just correct it. Even if you forgot to share something critical or you misspoke and needed to provide a correction, that’s okay. Making a mistake is human and the media will forgive you. Purposely not telling the truth? Now that’s another matter.
  • You don’t need to be overly forthright. I said tell the truth, not tell your entire life story. Share the facts related to the current situation, but don’t sway too far away and give up other juicy information that isn’t relevant.
  • It’s okay to say “I can’t tell you…” If you do run into a situation that you can’t share something…just tell them why. Here’s some examples: “I can’t share that information with you because its confidential,” “Due to competitive reasons, that information is not disclosed,” or “I can’t speak on behalf of that other party, you’ll have to ask them.”

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