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.
Here are our top 10 rules for applying the “front page test” to your company’s email corporate communications:
- 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.
- Fulfill any promises you make 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.
- Anytime you are about to send out a critical, controversial or aggressive email – pause, count to 10, think about the NY Times rule & consider rules 8, 9 & 10:
- Only hit “send” of you know you can stand the heat from public revelation.
- Only put it in writing if it’s 100% truthful.
- Only hit “send” if there are no better ways to express the ideas.
Are you a business, nonprofit or association who wants to train your staff and stakeholders on “the front page test?” Have recent corporate email communications gotten you in hot water?
Today’s corporate communications crises unfold more quickly than ever, with companies suddenly finding themselves engulfed in criticism and on the defensive. “As these moments ricochet around the web like never before, companies are realizing they don’t have the luxury of calmly sitting back, assessing the situation and then deciding on a solution,” says Sapna Maheshwari of the New York Times. “They need to be ready before it happens.”
CommCore “PressureTests” our clients’ readiness with highly interactive and content-rich simulations based on real-world fact patterns with the largest reputation risks and situations they are likely to face. PressureTest™ is designed to:
- Expose vulnerabilities and highlight strengths
- Enhance teamwork under stressful conditions
- Encourage active participation by crisis team members
Who is the training program for?
- Executive Management Committee
- C-Suites and Division Leaders
- Marketing, Legal, IT, HR, Security, Finance
- PR, Communications, Investor Relations, Public/Government Affairs
To schedule a PressureTest Training Demo please contact CommCore today!