Having Your Counsel Heard
One of the primary functions of public relations is helping organizations spend less money. We accomplish this by anticipating, identifying, and mitigating issues and counseling senior management on navigating crises before they significantly impact reputation and revenue. By bringing discomfort and presenting hard truths, we prepare management to make informed decisions.
However, if you don’t have the ear of senior management they will be deaf to your counsel.
Eric Bergman and Sarah K. Jones presented the three steps necessary to have the ear of senior management and the ability to affect change during an issue or crisis.
- Learn to speak their language. You must speak management for them to listen to you. This requires a strong grasp of business acumen and knowing how to read and present financials. You also must know how your industry functions, how your products get made, and your colleagues’ jargon.
- Get their attention. People will not change their behaviour until they experience discomfort. However, you must introduce the right amount of pressure to land in an individual’s latitude of acceptance. Too much or too little discomfort and your suggestions will be ignored.
- Change their behaviour. If you show up with a problem, you need to have a solution. Table as many options as possible for managers to consider. This includes presenting the bad options because if you don’t present them, they will.
You must have accomplished all three of these steps to have senior management list to your warnings and counsel. However, once you have them, there will always be a seat at the table for you.
A version of this article is also on cprs-hamilton.ca.