Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wrong Audience, Wrong Tone... Just Wrong

In early January, a Chicago real estate exec shot himself, apparently distraught over losses his company had suffered. The AP reported the story and quoted the company president. The quote made me do a double-take:

"a testimony to (deceased boss) leadership that (our company) remains well positioned for the future [and] poised for significant growth."

I got no sense of humanity in that statement and all crises are human events. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that the AP didn't run the entire statement. In a crisis, you have to choose your words carefully and focus on the audience most impacted (i.e. who is hurting the most?). How about a word of sympathy for the family and for the employees? Investors are impacted, but less than other audiences.

It's as though the building is burning and the owner is telling you that "there's nothing to see here, move along."

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