13th, August 2020 / Gaurav Gautam

Enterprising Crisis Management

While Ronan Keating crooned to these mellifluous lyrics enchanted by the expressions of his more’ my intention is to zone in on the benefits of calculated silence. Sometimes speech is just noise delivering questions like jet streams overburdening the empty ship of answers. Biology programmed us to hear more and speak less. The aerodynamics of our anatomical machinery flows from our ears placed above the mouth where the air converges to produce sound. It’s guttural, refined, and filtered. The domain of communication is often misunderstood to constitute only words, actions, and myriad expressions every step of the way, whereas careful observation will calibrate your perception adding value to important information while discarding the useless. Boardrooms consisting of stalwarts running multi-national enterprises rummage through data and presentations not via dull lectures, but through carefully worded discussions most of which is acquired through examining the need and time to use speech as an expression. Silence is not Ignorance. It is not a Weakness. It is a tool. In the universe of, Public Relations where one has to rely on media tactics, strategic formations, new improved ideas to reach out to a mildly intellectual public, the noise generated during brainstorming sessions must be interspaced with guided silence to introspect.

A crisis is a universal phenomenon. What leads to crisis, how to tackle or contain the fallout, and recover while re-strengthening the structure of the company is what sets an example. Media is a tool working both ways. It creates an opinion hierarchy while also acting as the source. The gradual expansion over a broad network covering forums, news channels, blogs, independent news generators, makes an opinion a tradable commodity cashed in on, via contrary views. In any given social space, the confluence of ideas cannot be controlled, which means the time, content, and source of spreading is beyond one’s comprehension. This uncontrolled flow over a network leads to unprecedented accumulation of information which can be good or bad, leading to a grand mix-up, beyond which people are suddenly faced with the task to distinguish true and false information! This information surplus leads to public suspicion over authenticity, thereby requiring the hard work of Crisis Management. There are many ways to go about this, and this is a step-by-step method elaborating upon the means to so do:

1. Understand the source and forms of spreading information. This must require dedicated time and effort to isolate areas generating maximum responses to any or every event.

2. The information is spread via certified/independent Network news forums that compress massive data to present information in its entirety.

3. These network news channels have their own community of followers that forward the news to different social sites and due to the comments, sections also have an interactive edge with the viewers or participants.

4. Thereon, come emails, personal messages, search engines who optimize results based on the online chatter related to the particular event.

The theory of ‘SPIRAL OF SILENCE’ is based on observational assumption wherein the behavioral pattern of some people withholding their views for fear of backlash or isolation from a dominant led them to be silent observers. It is only effective when a social issue threatens cohesion activating the spiral after people start to speak out confidently, triggered by a strong moral component. In garnering positive support for an enterprise the internal structure must be strengthened to allow the employees to speak up at the right time and not contribute to a cacophony of ideas that go to the bin, more often than not. When one believes his/her opinion to be closer to public opinion, they are more open to expressing it, whether it be positive or negative.

1. In this respect, an enterprise must work to strengthen their own ‘Advantageous’ Opinion

The silence of one party starts to indicate the heavier weight of a differing opinion, i.e. Advantageous, making the latter more powerful and silencing more opposite-opinion holders. A foolproof strategy must include efforts to build favorable consensus towards one’s opinion, while at the same time extensively diminishing the opposite opinion. It works on the formula that public memory is short and can be manipulated.

2.Create a Sanctimonious Atmosphere of your own ‘Opinions’

Simply put, it is news making and amplifying the effect over a large spectrum of opinion holders. Having a versatile social presence, increasing SEO is not ruled by a ‘discussion environment’ but by an overwhelming ‘opinion environment’ which encourages people to drift towards the more popular opinion which is not a rational decision. Once this starts to gain momentum, it automatically subdues the opposition voice. One can also start parallel conversations having positive undertones, making the opinion favorably convoluted to suit one’s purpose. This, however, has to be eased into gradually for every new opinion that can lead to new backlash or further troubles.

3. Stakeholder’s Collaborative Efforts

Even though some of them are not directly associated with the enterprise, they are intertwined with the rise and fall of the company. Their positive addition to the cause of reinforcing good opinion by including them in the workings and benefits of the company revitalizes their interest. This can be utilized to consequently drive out ‘minority’ or disadvantageous opinion holders or make them conform to the majority opinion.

Conclusion: Business communication thus can be a minefield of hits and misses. While the necessary restraint of holding your tongue is as important as wagging it, the time and situation is a key factor. A wrong word at the wrong time to the wrong person can send tidal waves of exponentially increasing crises, whereas modulating the same through swift, sharp strategies can effectively turn it into an opportunity. It is said that all publicity is good. Wrong. Sowing seeds of doubt can mar one’s reputation and erode its good faith over time. Solutions should weight the ship down to it moorings and anchor it in its right place, rather than just keeping it afloat for the time being.

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