Plastered across the media in the last week have been reports of a car crash involving Tiger Woods. For those of you who aren’t aware, the golfing super hero was involved in a car accident outside his home resulting in his wife using a golf club to break him free followed by being admitted to hospital.
Tiger Woods leads a very private life away from the often obtrusive media eye. It’s not often that information about Wood’s private life appears in the media. Not surprisingly, Wood has been very vague about what occurred that night and has replied to media inquiries with the dangerous “no comment” creating a public relations nightmare.
What’s the big deal?
When replying with “No Comment” both the media and the public automatically believe that Tiger Woods is lying, or covering up what happened leaving the media to fill in the gap. This more often than not ends badly.
What should be done?
You have to remember that the truth nearly always gets out. The “No Comment” answer will only make the situation worse and there is usually no way of avoiding the situation. Tiger will eventually have to answer key questions at a golf tournament press conference. It is a much better idea to “Tell it first, tell it yourself and tell it all” to avoid jeopardising the Tiger Woods brand.
The car crash story is getting international media attention as well as creating a buzz on Twitter and Facebook. Most of this attention is speculation around what actually happened. From a PR perspective it is a much better idea for Tiger to be truthful and authentic. Public figures are constantly under scrutiny and so it is better to be forthcoming than to leave things to speculation.
What lessons can be learnt?
If you or your business find yourself in a crisis situation it is important to respond truthfully and quickly. If someone refuses to respond, the immediate thought is that they are hiding something. If you really can’t release any information it is important to take control of the situation and explain why. By offering an explanation, you appear responsive and cooperative even if you are not sharing a great deal of information.
What to do if you are in a similar situation
If you or your business find yourself in the midst of a crisis you should keep in mind the following suggestions:
• Never, ever say “No Comment.” Instead tell reporters the situation is still being reviewed and you will have a statement available as soon as you have all the facts.
• Offer as much information as possible to avoid the chance of inaccurate information being reported to the public.
• Respond quickly to define and control public perception of how you are handling the crisis or the media will do it for you.
• If the crisis affects members of the public, always show compassion and concern for the people involved.
• Don’t allow for speculation. If the interviewer says something that is not factual, correct the information.
• Report your own bad news before the media catches wind. This will avoid the media assuming you are guilty without getting your side of the story.
• Always admit your mistakes. Explain why the mistake occurred and what you are doing to fix the problem. Never under estimate the power of “sorry.”
• Forget about “on the record” “off the record” promises. If you don’t want something reported, then avoid discussing it completely.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.