Why Virtue is Important in Communications…

1 09 2008

At the moment there are so many situations upwelling that would require a seasoned PR practitioner’s touch – political campaigns in crisis mode and natural disasters.

Why is it important to have someone with virtuous communications skills during these times? Communication is key to effective management – and handling these adversities with virtue ensures that there is less “collateral damage” when all is said and done.

The current news about the Republican VP has everyone in a flutter. The response from many in the industry has been that this is a private family matter – and I agree whole-heartedly. That isn’t what the constituents are thinking or feeling. And how do you portray that which is considered “private” in a manner that is conducive to all of the ideals and principles that you are expected to represent as the second in command of this fine nation. As a communications professional, it would be your job to make certain that all of the information that could potentially be damaging be presented in the best possible light. Currently, it has had a widespread effect on not just their campaign, but on the political process as a whole.

Why is it important that this woman’s family be above reproach? Have we not had scandalous situations in the White House during past presidencies? Are her actions in support of her political position? I would have to say that if she is pro-life (as it is suggested), that her actions are in keeping with her political perspectives. And in reality, how many children are conceived out of wedlock – why do we hold the family of a politico to a standard different than that of any other person? A communications professional would have been pro-active in seeing that this situation would eventually come to light and have a plan of action on the best way to execute an appropriate communications plan. Additionally, a virtuous communications professional would make certain that it all things related to this “private” matter were handled with delicacy and (as my blog suggests) Wisdom, Courage, Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude and Creativity.

Gustav has created another opportunity for inappropriate media relations – from both sides – media outlets and the sources providing the information. Post-Katrina crisis communications have been in the spotlight. So many communications professionals have taken to heart the lessons that have been learned the hard way from Katrina, the Southern California wildfires and the like, but there are some that have not – in fact they have disregarded those lessons and chosen the other path less-virtuous. It is the hope of all of those in the profession that both sides will act in a way so the best information is provided in a timely manner to those that could be adversely affected by the lack of it. This means that those providing the information may have to courageously take a step outside of their comfort zone and ensure that even privileged information is communicated effectively.

I would challenge my colleagues to remember that the virtuous path is a rocky one, but that the outcome of virtuous communications will far exceed the costs.

C

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