The desire to edit another person’s words is almost irresistible. Not always for the better.
Consider the publishing-house editor in charge of A Tale of Two Cities who suggested Charles Dickens shorten his initial wording to “It was the best and worst of times.” Dickens refused and his original language is now one of the most recognized phrases in the world.
Few other opening lines have imprinted themselves so thoroughly on the public consciousness. Perhaps “Call me Ishmael,” from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
A novice editor is like a child. Both believe they know everything. The difference is that one has a red pencil and the power to use it, while the other has a parent to guide him. As they mature, both realize how much they have yet to learn.
No one in the top tier of Crisis & Reputation Management is a novice. Only the mature need apply. There is no room for subjectivity or personal preference. All that counts is cold analysis. Every nuance is measured. Does what you say or do get you nearer to your goal?
This often leads the Crisis PR person in a different direction than the client or his lawyer. They are approaching it from different perspectives — as an aggrieved person who wants justice or vengeance, or as attorney dealing with the constraints of the law.
The challenge is bridging the difference. Clients are usually more amenable. Present them with a cogent explanation of what you hope to achieve and how you intend to get there, and they will be on board. They just want the problem fixed. They don’t care about the process.
Most attorneys will agree, but their goal is different. They want the PR issue off their plate so they can focus on the legal matters.
To paraphrase Dickens, “When we do our job well, it is the best of times.”
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Preparation & Training. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-396-8696.
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