A recent article in the Washington Post pointed out what is known in the communications consulting world as “The New York Times Rule” or “The Front-Page Test,” which states that anything you write in email can turn up in a major national newspaper and become a liability to your reputation. We’re not playing politics here, just commenting on what businesses, non-profits and associations can take away from Donald Trump Jr’s emails suggesting collusion with Russians on damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
- Do not put anything in your emails that you wouldn’t want to see in the national press.
- Business, nonprofit and association leaders are held to a higher standard than politicians when they misstep or miscommunicate.
- Rhetoric is almost never sufficient to repair reputational damage – it might work for politicians, but CEOs and their teams need to also take action.
- Make no promises on those actions that you cannot fulfill – and fulfill quickly.
- Let others – employees, shareholders, partners, advocates – speak about the good work you or your CEO is doing to get back in good graces – not the organization itself.
- You can stand the heat from public revelation
- It’s truthful
- There are no better ways to express the ideas