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2014-02-21    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


It's a safe bet that when AOL chief Tim Armstrong's comment about the million-dollar price tag for saving "distressed babies" went viral, the resulting sound and fury sent a shiver through C-suites everywhere.

"This really proves that there is no such thing as talking to just one audience anymore," says Michael Maslansky, head of communications firm Maslansky & Partners. "Everything you say is public now."
公关公司Maslansky & Partners的老板迈克尔•马兰斯基说:“它再次证明,根本没有什么‘天知地知,你知我知’这回事。现在你说的每一个字,地球人全都会知道。”

Not only did Armstrong seem to overlook that fact during his now-infamous conference call with AOL (AOL) employees, but he then proceeded to make two other mistakes, Maslansky says, that could turn out to be just as damaging as the first one.

First, hastily restoring quarterly 401(k) matching made Armstrong "look weak," Maslansky notes. Then too, "his about-face was expensive for the company and accomplished nothing." Maslansky predicts that Armstrong will have to make the same cutbacks next year, "and employees will not be ready," so the uproar will be just as loud.
第一个错误是,匆忙重启了季度401(k)匹配计划,致使阿姆斯特朗“显得弱势”。这是马兰斯基的评论。然后,“对公司来说,他立场大逆转。这个做法代价高昂,却又毫无成效。” 马兰斯基预计,阿姆斯特朗明年还会来这么一次裁员行动,“而员工依然准备不足,”因此到时候还是会一片哗然。

A former corporate lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Maslansky advises the top brass at Procter & Gamble (PG), FedEx (FDX), McDonald's (MCD), PepsiCo (PEP), and many other big companies on how to avoid, or survive, public relations debacles. Tim Armstrong isn't the first executive to get his foot stuck firmly in his mouth, of course, and he won't be the last. Maslansky suggests three ways for CEOs and other executives to minimize the damage.
马兰斯基曾是知名律所Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz(纽约著名律所,以并购见长,被称为“华尔街的发动机”——译注)的公司律师,主要为宝洁公司(Procter & Gamble)、联邦快递公司(FedEx)、麦当劳公司(McDonald's)、百事公司(PepsiCo)以及其他许多大公司的高管们出谋划策,就如何避免以及有效应对公关危机提供建议。当然,蒂姆•阿姆斯特朗并不是第一个因为出言不慎而栽在自己嘴上的高管,也不会是最后一个。如何将公关危机造成的危害降低到最小?马兰斯基就这个问题为首席执行官和其他高管提供了如下三条建议。

1. Engage with social media before you're forced to."Ten years ago, Armstrong's comment would have been water cooler chat, period. But thanks to the Internet, every screw-up gets broadcast," notes Maslansky. It doesn't help, he adds, that "public skepticism means that everything about Big Business is suspect now. The public expects the worst."
1. 尽早使用社交媒体,别等火烧眉毛才用。马兰斯基评论说:“换做十年前,阿姆斯特朗的这番高论也就会成为办公室闲聊的谈资,不会有什么下文。但现在拜互联网所赐,不管什么错误都会被广而告之。”他进一步补充道:“公众的怀疑态度意味着现在所有跟大企业沾边的事都是可疑的,公众就是想看它们出丑,”而这显然只会给高管们帮倒忙。

The best antidote to that: Build a strong online presence, one that humanizes your company (and yourself), before you need it. Loyal Twitter followers, for instance, may be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. "Get comfortable communicating your ideas online," Maslansky says. "Armstrong should have started tweeting immediately, apologizing for bringing up 'distressed babies' but also putting the focus back on soaring health care costs, which was his original point." Maslansky thinks a series of five well-worded tweets would have helped get the conversation back on track.

2. Don't hide from controversy."CEOs, and companies, tend to want to get past a mistake as soon as possible and put it behind them, so they stop talking," Maslansky observes. "But if you do the opposite by wading in and participating, it tends to lower the temperature of the discussion."
2. 不要回避争议。 “首席执行官和公司总想让错误尽快过去,把它们甩在身后,所以他们会保持沉默,”马兰斯基说。“但如果采取相反的做法,直接介入,参与舆论,反而会让热议的温度有所下降。”

One current case in point: the biggest U.S. banks. Maslansky points to a recent survey by his firm showing that only 5% of the American public knows the banking industry has repaid, with interest, every nickel of the TARP money they borrowed from the federal government in 2008.

"That means 95% of the public still believes the banking industry 'owes' them that bailout money," notes Maslansky. He thinks the big banks need to do a far better job of, first, getting the word out about the TARP debt and, second, explaining the changes since the Crash, aimed at preventing another one. "Banks have done well financially in the past couple of years, but they've been way too quiet" -- and that silence has fed public anger and distrust.

3. Accept the fact that nothing goes away by itself."CEOs and big companies tend to be a very conservative group, and they worry that anything they say -- especially on social media -- will make them look even more conservative," Maslansky says. "So they hunker down and hope the controversy will just go away."
3. 接受现实,任何事情都不会自动平息。马兰斯基说:“首席执行官和大公司通常都属于非常保守的群体,而且他们担心自己不管说了什么——尤其是在社交媒体上——都会让他们更显得保守。所以他们干脆就保持低调,希望争议能够自己平息下去。”

The bad news: It won't. A company with a crisis on its hands needs to "show that you're out there listening to people and responding," Maslansky says. BP's (BP) well-publicized cleanup and continuing presence in the Gulf of Mexico, years after the biggest oil spill in history (and then-CEO Tony Hayward's resignation), is one example of how to do it right.

Engaging with your critics and getting your point of view out there is "harder than it used to be," Maslansky adds. "It's not what you say that matters. It's what your audience hears." As Tim Armstrong found out the hard way, those can be quite different things.

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