District Administration August 2017 - 20

MarketingMatters
It's not just what you say,
but how you say it
PR preparedness improves your response in times of crisis
By Jennifer Abrams

P

ositive public relations experiences
are critical to our survival as public entities and, unfortunately for
many school leaders, we face an uphill
climb. According to a June 2016 Gallup
poll, only 30 percent of Americans feel "a
great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence
in public schools, down from an equally
disheartening 36 percent when the survey was administered a decade earlier.
In addition to the fact that leaders
must proactively and intentionally improve day-to-day communications and
community outreach, it is imperative to
develop a clear public relations plan that
will work during a controversy, such as
when a budget cut looms or a bullying
incident makes the news. Given the unfavorable statistics regarding public confidence even in the good times, education
leaders know we'll have to work extra
hard when responding to a crisis.
Grace under fire
If you have the financial resources to
consult with a crisis communications
firm, it is beneficial to work with people
who have been down this path. Regardless of resources, steps can be taken to
demonstrate grace under fire.
1) Take responsibility for what happened. Acknowledge and own what is
yours to own. The community thinks
of you as part of an organization, so you
represent the district no matter your
role. "That wasn't my decision. It was
the school across town. It was another
department's fault." These statements

DAmag.me/say

20 August 2017

It is helpful to remind
the community when
specific protections are
in place. It changes the
perceived obfuscation
into something that
supports students.
won't work, and they fail to address the
challenges you're facing. Throwing colleagues, "under the bus" is bad form.
2) Speak clearly and directly.
Explain the reasons for decisions as
succinctly as possible. If a decision was
made in-house and isn't appropriate for
public discussion, say so. Or, if there's
confidential information you cannot
share, acknowledge it and explain the
rationale (an internal personnel matter,
for example, or underage students who
cannot be named publicly). It is helpful
to remind the community when protections are in place. This will prove you are
committed to transparency.
3) Be aware of body language. Inperson communications-from a PTA
meeting up to a crisis response interview
on the local news-bring another element into play. A significant part of your
ability to communicate isn't how you
use words but how you use your body
(posture, gestures and facial expressions)
and your voice (pitch, speed, volume
and tone). Have an expert or someone
trusted evaluate your approachability and
perceived credibility. Don't be a pushover, but you must appear credible and
assured without being aggressive.

4) Apologize well. We often fear
an apology will make the recipient lose
regard for us, or perhaps even become
smug, hold a grudge, or end the relationship. These concerns are about our
comfort, not the impact of our behavior.
Becoming "other-focused" is critical
preparation for moments like this. Aaron
Lazare, in his book, On Apology (Oxford
University Press, 2005), offers a scaffold:
* Correctly identify to whom the
apology is owed.
* Acknowledge the offending behavior in adequate detail.
* Recognize the impact the behaviors
had on the victim.
* Confirm that the grievance was a
violation of a social/moral contract by
showing shame, remorse, humility and
sincerity-and a wish to reclaim trust.
* Make reparations. Offer to do
something, buy something or even
change something.
Don't minimize the impact on those
affected or acknowledge an issue passively ("Your complaint is noted.").
Address the misstep head on, take ownership and make a genuine apology to
those who were hurt.
This is one of the most difficult parts
of any leader's job. When information
is scarce, the public creates their own,
so the leader must fearlessly take control
of the narrative. The students and their
families are watching us, and our survival
as valued public entities is on the line. DA
Jennifer Abrams is a communications
consultant and author of Having Hard
Conversations, The Multigenerational
Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate
and Create Community. She can be reached
at jennifer@jenniferabrams.com and via
Twitter @jenniferabrams.
District Administration


http://www.DAmag.me/say

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration August 2017

District Administration August 2017 - Cover1
District Administration August 2017 - Cover2
District Administration August 2017 - 1
District Administration August 2017 - 2
District Administration August 2017 - 3
District Administration August 2017 - 4
District Administration August 2017 - 5
District Administration August 2017 - 6
District Administration August 2017 - 7
District Administration August 2017 - 8
District Administration August 2017 - 9
District Administration August 2017 - 10
District Administration August 2017 - 11
District Administration August 2017 - 12
District Administration August 2017 - 13
District Administration August 2017 - 14
District Administration August 2017 - 15
District Administration August 2017 - 16
District Administration August 2017 - 17
District Administration August 2017 - 18
District Administration August 2017 - 19
District Administration August 2017 - 20
District Administration August 2017 - 21
District Administration August 2017 - 22
District Administration August 2017 - 23
District Administration August 2017 - 24
District Administration August 2017 - 25
District Administration August 2017 - 26
District Administration August 2017 - 27
District Administration August 2017 - 28
District Administration August 2017 - 29
District Administration August 2017 - 30
District Administration August 2017 - 31
District Administration August 2017 - 32
District Administration August 2017 - 33
District Administration August 2017 - 34
District Administration August 2017 - 35
District Administration August 2017 - 36
District Administration August 2017 - 37
District Administration August 2017 - 38
District Administration August 2017 - 39
District Administration August 2017 - 40
District Administration August 2017 - 41
District Administration August 2017 - 42
District Administration August 2017 - 43
District Administration August 2017 - 44
District Administration August 2017 - 45
District Administration August 2017 - 46
District Administration August 2017 - 47
District Administration August 2017 - 48
District Administration August 2017 - Cover3
District Administration August 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0420
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0320
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0220
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0120
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1119
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1019
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0919
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0719
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0619
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0519
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0419
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0319
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0219
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1118
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1018
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0918
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0818
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0718
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_0618
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0618v3
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0518
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1117
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1017
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0917
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0817
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0717
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/TechX_0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0517
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_SR0117Final
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1216
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1116
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_1016
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0916
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0816
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0716
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA_0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/DA
http://www.nxtbook.com/pmg/DA/1215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201505_AudioVisualSolutions
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201504
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201502
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201405_AudioVisualSolutions
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201404
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201402
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201401
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201302
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201301
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da201301_AudioVisualSolutions
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da_avguide0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1010
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1009
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1008
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0808
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0608
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0807
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0707
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da1006
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da-palm0606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0606-av
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pmg/da0406
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com