If there’s one trait PR practitioners should have it’s emotional intelligence. This should always be in the back of our minds as it allows us to anticipate public reaction. We become the gatekeepers able to shape a message in order to minimise the probability of crises or public upset taking place.
Whilst some crises can be completely out of the blue, the majority of the time, if you know your public well enough, you can use emotional intelligence to predict what their reaction will be to the message you’re trying to relay. If you can identify potential threats to your company/organisation or campaign before they have the chance to materialise, then you can turn a storm into a drizzle by making sure you are ready to act if something negative occurs and set ’emergency’ strategies into place.
This is exactly why internal communications is so important. It also highlights the importance of a unified voice within your company should crisis strike. The internet has given the consumer a voice – if this voice is a negative one then it’s all the more crucial for your staff to act as the voice of the company.
Before social media, the impact the consumer had on any given company was relatively insignificant. The reputation of the company was dependent upon their practices and relationships. Now, with social media, the consumer is the critic. Due to this, transparency is more important than ever and it’s increasingly essential to be upfront with your consumers. If you make a mistake, don’t attempt to cover it up with endless excuses – just say sorry.
Emotional intelligence covers a vast spectrum. The ability to anticipate public reaction goes hand in hand with common sense. Being truthful with your audiences will build a trusting relationship and strengthen reputation; so if you do make a mistake, at least you still have the potential to retain consumer respect.