Your customers, investors, employees may be disappointed or angry. You may need to apologize. If so, do it immediately. Do it gracefully, patiently, and consistently. Via every communications channel. Take control of the narrative. Suck up your courage and share the facts about your mistakes. Show that you can own your mistakes and forthrightly resolve them. Describe your plan to fix what’s broken.
If you are the person on point to communicate, you absolutely MUST practice. Yes, finding out what went wrong is a ton of work. Deciding what to say about it is a ton of work. But saying it well is ALSO a ton of work that needs your attention.
You don’t have time to practice because you’re in crisis mode? Yes you do. Practice in the shower. Practice on your commute. Get your team to hit you with the tough Q&A for five minutes before every media interaction. It’s worth the time.
If you don’t practice before you speak you can appear awkward and scared, which is murder on your credibility. If you fumble a critical question, you’ll look dangerously inarticulate and wishy-washy. This can kill a company. Or a stock price. On the other hand, graceful, clear, elegantly delivered apologies can make a company look great. You decide.
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