The Human Touch

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    Still no substitute for human interaction when thing go wrong

    Be human and be humane: It’s easy to get defensive and hide behind “no comment” or your lawyers. But when tragedy strikes – your audiences (employees, community, customers, etc.) want to see and hear from you. They don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to genuinely care about what happened and how it impacts them. They want to hear from a real person who is being honest and forthright with them.

    This quote, from a Business 2 Community article by marketing expert Drew McLellan, has only been made more true over recent years by the rise of the Internet and true mass communication. While more than happy to read press releases or generic news via Twitter and its kin, when people feel threatened or upset the human touch is invaluable.

    The actual speaker does not have to be the CEO, but it should be someone fairly high up in the organization who is personable and able to stay on-message during potentially stressful media appearances or interviews, and this speaker should remain as the face of the company throughout the crisis and recovery.

    Funny enough, it is technology that has spurred and nurtured a return to this “human touch” thinking by encouraging the mass sharing of video. No longer do you have to wrangle an interview on a major network, or pitch countless local stations in hopes of having your statements aired. Now all it takes is a free YouTube channel to ensure that stakeholders see and hear your spokesman exactly as intended.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]