There’s something every PR pro out there needs to hear. It’s a message that seems obvious when you hear it but many forget it in their day to day work. What all of us need to be reminded of is every word you say and write could completely change your life and your business.
See? It doesn’t sound all that revolutionary. In fact, that message is one of the most obvious things you could say to a PR pro. However, as I mentioned, it’s also something we forget every day. Even the best of us let it slip our minds from time to time that what we say and write can greatly impact peoples’ lives.
While we jump from press release to Facebook post to phone call to email, words can become lost in the shuffle. All it takes is one little word, though, and you have a tough road ahead.
One Little Word
Have you seen those “Don’t text and drive” commercials? They feature the loved ones of drivers who decided to text and drive but got into a crash and died before they could send or receive their last message. It’s usually something as banal as “ok” or “where r.”
The commercials may be a little dramatic to some but they do a great job of showing how important little words are. You want your last words to be something profound and important but you never know when you’ll be interrupted before you can get your full message across.
Just think of someone in a similar situation who was having a fight with a loved one. They would never get the chance to clarify what they meant or to apologize. This is why it’s important to be careful about what you say ALL the time.
All it takes is one little word to set someone off down the wrong path. If you’re not careful you could inadvertently drive someone – such as a customer or potential customer – away, and if that’s your last interaction they’ll never come back.
Think a Minute
Responding to angry comments can quickly lead to saying or typing out something you really shouldn’t say. The Internet is full of “man, I really should not have said that” moments that nobody can take back. Once something is out there, it’s out there, often forever.
That’s why it’s important to take a minute and think about what you’re going to say. Sometimes I’m guilty of going to the extreme with this and just staying silent at certain times. However, the alternative was to accidentally say something that irritated thousands of people, so it’s a gamble I’m willing to take. As President “Silent Cal” Coolidge reportedly opined, “I’ve never been hurt by what I haven’t said.”
We’ve all typed up an email and deleted it so we can retype it and so on and so forth. Try to use this editing system in everything you type and say. Consider if it will potentially offend someone or be misconstrued in some way. If there’s any doubt in your mind, it’s likely someone will take it the wrong way. Your words have more power than you know, and misusing them can get you in some real trouble!
Has a customer or client ever misconstrued something you said? Were you able to repair the relationship?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html