When engaging in conversations that are meant to be persuasive or to influence your listener’s actions (for example, a sales pitch, an email campaign, or a call to action), your goal should be that your listener both receives and retains your message. The first step in achieving this is to tell them what they need or want to hear, not simply what you want to say. This is also true, and fundamentally more urgent, in a crisis communications situation. It’s human nature to more effectively receive information that is relevant and timely to us.
It took less than 15 minutes for an issue at United Airlines to turn into a corporate crisis. Thanks to multiple smartphone videos that captured a confrontation between security and a passenger on board United Flight 3411, this is a global story that continues to gain attention.
When organisations hire public relations firms their first thought is often how the consultants can help them gain visibility in the first instance and, if everything goes according to plan, how to gain favourability in the long term.