Lost in Translation

Best way to save image?Consider all the moving parts.

Best way to save image?
Consider all the moving parts.

You know what you said, and you know what you meant. How can anyone misinterpret it?

Easy. Happens all the time. Even when you’re speaking the same language.

Are words clumsily chosen? Do unintended connotations conjure starkly different imagery because of  generational, regional or cultural perspectives? Does your body language send conflicting messages? Is your tone too formal when the situation needs sensitivity or empathy?

Messages have many moving parts. Getting them to work together is a challenge. Getting them to mesh flawlessly is an art.

You see it every day.

  • The Board of a non-profit needs to explain how money went missing without them noticing.
  • A company being sued for sexual harassment needs to salvage its reputation after a supervisor got too “friendly.”
  • A developer must allay the fears of neighbors worried that a new project will negatively impact the world they are comfortable with.
  • Business partners realize they can no longer stand each other, but each insists the inevitable break-up must be on terms that benefit them the most.

Tension always exists between desire and reality — and usually those involved are too close to distinguish between them. Fresh eyes see better.

  • You know what you wish you could achieve if you had your druthers. But is it actually do-able?
  • You know in your heart what you’d like to say. But can you hear what it sounds like to others?
  • Do you really know what the reaction will be to your words and actions — from donors, the media, the public, investors, customers? Or are you crossing your fingers and hoping for the best?

Mama was right, “Think before you speak.” That rule is as basic as it is obvious.

But it’s not enough. What you need is more complex: A comprehensive strategy that anticipates pitfalls, steers you around them, and never loses sight of where you where you want to go.

Oh yes. While you’re at it, make it appear effortless, not orchestrated. Seems more sincere.


“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.

You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.

If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.

For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net


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