The email arrived in my inbox screaming.

It was from a panicked client who because of a typo in a brochure had inadvertently sent the very opposite message of what they had intended.

And their social media was blowing up with angry and negative comments that threatened their reputation.

How did they resolve this matter? They put out a statement.

And that calmed nerves, clarified the situation and all is now well.

Crafting an effective statement is a critical part of your communications toolbox.

Here’s what makes a good statement.

  1. Clarity of message. Know exactly what you want to say.  Are you apologizing?  Correcting the record? Expressing support?
  2. Keep it short and concise.  And say only what you need to say and nothing more. Don’t make people wade through a whole lot of copy. It just angers and confuses.
  3. Respond quickly. In this time when news travels at the speed of light, you can’t leave negative comments hanging out there.  At the same time, you don’t want to jump in too early. Before you fully understand the situation, because you could actually make it worse by giving out incorrect information, causing you to have to fix two things instead of just the original issue. It’s a balancing act between speed and enough time to get a grasp of the challenge.
  4. Stick to the facts. You may be tempted to speculate, to over-explain. Just stick to the facts as you know them and nothing more.
  5. Be human. We all make mistakes.  Admit it, apologize where appropriate, empathize, and in the case of the typo, there might even be an opportunity to use humor, though do so cautiously.  Find ways to show your humanity.

I am curious to hear from you how you have responded in these kinds of situations and what’s worked for you in creating a statement.