The internet is not void of celebrity gist or stories of their misdeeds. I have witnessed several events where celebrities came out to apologise for personal issues. Although some of these posts get deleted later, blogs latch on to them and repost the stories; critiques do not wax cold in giving their opinions. Due to these factors, one should ask, are public apologies from celebrities necessary?
It gets more interesting here! In Public Relations and Crisis Management, silence is a strategy!
In the first part of this series, I defined a crisis and why businesses should have pre-crisis management plans. If you missed it, please view it here.
Moving on to today’s subject, when you speak where you should have maintained silence, you stir up various unnecessary public opinions. But it is very crucial to understand the times, as employing the silence strategy when explaining a situation is required may worsen the crisis.
When to apply the Silence Strategy
When the crisis is not life-threatening: If it is an issue with two adults, if there were no loss of lives, accidents or threats to life, the silence strategy works well.
When there is an established relationship with the concerned persons: For most crisis cases that have to do with unknown parties, there may be a need to break the silence. If there is an established relationship with the affected persons, conflict resolution works.
When the target audiences are fast-paced with trends: when it comes to gossip or entertainment news, Nigerians are fast-paced. They move on to the next gist quickly. Silence is a strategy that makes the story go out of the limelight speedily.
When a crisis with the personal brand affects the existence of an organisation: I noticed many public figures keep silent on issues as a crisis management strategy. Some speak through their aides, managers, assistants, or company’s account. While there are no hard and fast rules concerning this, dealing with a crisis that may affect an organisation may require speaking through a communications specialist.
When silence would not affect the crisis negatively: This is the most crucial point. If all the points above are positive, but this is negative, please break the silence. By negative, I mean weighing the consequences. If the repercussions are more for silence, then speak up.
Remember, the golden rule is to understand the time! Rather than spilling the milk, it is better to keep mum.