What to do when your personal PR gets caught by a lie?

09.02.2017

You got yourself into unnecessary conversation on Facebook. Someone is spreading lies about you. Is this something trivial or a beginning of crisis?

Crisis. It’s just a matter of time

This year I have had several cases when people came across slander, rumours, and clearly stated that it had negatively affected their image and business. I don’t specialize in crisis Public Relations, but due to mutual respect and trust we confronted the problem together and now I would like to share few insightful things with you.

I as well face slander from the hater who has never been my client. He has seen me few times in his life, but feels bold to comment my business operation.

Why do customers go away? Because they do not check!

Customers listen to only one version of one person. It is most often conveyed in an emotional manner e.g. “He cheated”, “I was abused”.

What do majority of the listeners do?

They feel sorry.

No one has time to verify this information and ask the other party. So they feel sorry for those who express their unsupported opinions and take their side. They have right to their opinion, but they have no right to slander you without any ground.

Unfortunately, there is no time for any proof and the sentence has already been passed  – guilty as charged. You are a fraud who used another person.

What mistake do you make in similar situations? You react ineptly.

One does not always have to react. Sometimes it is better to just monitor and do not give irrelevant statements any meaning. It is difficult to decide when to react and when to let it go.

If you have proof that these statements destroy your good name and affect your image in a negative way or lead to your clients leaving you, it is time to act.

The most common mistake is when you wait too long because you wish it will fade away. It is until the very first client leaves or when you are invited to major event, and then the matter is no longer trivial.

Watch out for the labels!

People love to blame others, so once you are labelled “guilty” it won’t come off easily. There is a guilty one and the good one. When you do not respond in certain situations, it may mean your consent and acceptance of slander. Some time ago Adam Łaszy during his classes of crisis PR spoke about Shakespearean division of roles in a conflict: guilty, not guilty and a victim. Which one are you?

The roles are granted at the beginning. This is why the first stage of crisis is so crucial.

Emotions and full speed ahead!

How to make a stand in your own case? This is where you make another mistake by defending and justifying yourself which is often fuelled by emotions. It is natural. We are all humans. You comment on Facebook because “you can’t remain indifferent”. The result is usually miserable because the discussion spreads like a plague and you are still considered guilty or suspected at least.

When you are controlled by your emotions you lose control over situation. This means guaranteed crash and conflict escalation.

Think about what you’re going to say and when. During the discussion refer to the facts only. Do not judge your accuser. Do not throw insults at him or her and focus on real crux of the matter.

 

Words have power. It is huge! They do not serve to kill, but to solve problems.

Work out a special list in this case.

Write down facts which contradict slander.

Depending on the situation you can contact a lawyer and PR specialist so they can help you prepare yourself to defend your good name.

 

Sequence, repetition, consistency

It is not easy to handle crisis situation which not only impacts your business, but also wears you off personally. This is why you should plan your next steps. Use mediation as it is worth to check what your attacker really needs.

It is not enough to do one thing as a declaration. It will usually take few steps to make sure that you have regained control and keep an eye on everything.

 

What drives us? Fear or determination?

Fear. It gets us in such situations. The accused person who is subjected to rumours and slander is afraid to react because of fear that this response will do more harm than good.

Fear can be positive as it warns us about reckless words and decisions. It should not be underestimated, but I deeply believe that it is necessary to react adequately to the circumstances. I do not think that such situations go away on their own, but very often they become a silent conflict.

Some people get overcome by fear. Others are led by determination. The latter have to do something! If you are determined make sure to think carefully about your reaction. Whatever you say or do – look at the big picture. The determined without preparation are most susceptible to making mistakes.

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