[By Kelly McGuire]
A professional communicator’s role requires the ability to relay honest messages to the public while maintaining an organization’s privacy. When there is a contrast between these two requirements, preparing for public disclosure can become particularly difficult. There are a multitude of considerations to be made such as language, tone and potential implications to name a few.
Crafting transparent messages is particularly challenging for communicators as they must aim for both accuracy and openness. In today’s news-saturated society, there is a constant hunger for more information, greater detail and open accountability. Companies are faced with the task of providing the public with as much information as possible without threatening organizational confidentiality.
The rise of social media has made finding this balance even more challenging. Social media platforms are extremely valuable tools for communicators because they can easily relay information to mass audiences. However, these online platforms pose a unique set of challenges. The depth of information that society now expects to receive from an organization has increased as a result of the level of personal connection that social media offers.
Public perception is more influential than ever when it comes to shaping the outcome of an unfolding situation or business decision. If an organization releases a message that lacks adequate detail, the public may question whether the organization is hiding something. Providing too much information can be equally damaging as it may be perceived as insincere. Liken this to the overuse of the phrase “I’m sorry.” The sentiment quickly loses its charm. It is the responsibility of the communicator to find a happy medium between too much information and not enough.
In today’s world, finding the balance between transparency and confidentiality is more difficult than ever. Although the decision may not ultimately be theirs to make, the communications professional must ensure that the messaging is both appropriate for the situation and reflective of the organization’s position.
(Photo by Jason Blackeye via Unsplash)