The communication industry has for too long being caught up in desperately trying to protect reputation of organisations or businesses, which is a very negative approach. It is all creating a version of reality that can become a twisted perversion of the truth. It is bothered with allowing access to only certain information and in doing that in denying access to other details.
One thing that the arrival of social media has done is to challenge the view that effective communication is all about safeguarding reputation. It has to be about more. And for me it definitely is. The purpose has to be about encouraging and allowing greater access to as much information as possible. The question should always be why shouldn’t we provide this information, and why shouldn’t we release it?
A positive approach to communication is to provide information and to look at what can be released. The key is to identify all the opportunities that we have to help people understand what we are doing or what our product is about. It doesn’t matter where you work it is an approach suitable for all.
I continue to be frustrated by communication professionals or those working in this area who are more concerned with holding back information unnecessarily. There is nothing that creates a negative impression of the public relations or communications team than the feeling that they are withholding information or becoming a barrier to that detail being released. Social media has done a lot to impact on this and where those barriers emerge then people can use networks to undermine the position.
The simple message for me has to be to take the opportunities as they arise and make sure you are being positive in releasing and providing access to information. Be the difference that is required. I have been confronted with the importance of this a number of times over the last five days. It has required an open, honest and transparent approach to communication which is what I continue to strive to achieve.