At a time in America’s history when the threat of war was pervasive and the future unclear, President John F. Kennedy stood in front of the nation and delivered his now infamous inaugural speech where he requested of citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” That request came after the newly elected president painted a picture of the grave situation facing the country, and the need to band together with allies, and against enemies.
Fast forward 52 years to a more recent example of a request to band together – albeit not nearly as grave, but a request nonetheless. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! has recently asked that all “Yahoos” return to the office, banning the flexible work-from-home environment in place at the company today. The request came in a 246-word memo emailed to employees from the HR department.
The request was met with a lot of outrage – both internally and externally – and has sparked a nationwide debate on the merits of flexible work arrangements.
To be clear, this post is not about whether or not the decision to ban telecommuting was the right one for Yahoo!, or any other company. Rather, it’s about making sure you don’t become the target of unintended consequences through your messages.
When you have an announcement to make – whether internal or external – ask yourself the following questions:
Once you have a better sense of what you’d like to say, follow these tips:
Whether it’s a press release, a tweet, a media interview, a speech or a company memo, remember how you say it is often more important than what you say. And in today’s real-time feedback world, your message is one of the most important – and controllable – tools you have.
Looking to wrap these tips into your PR strategy? Check out Tina Cassidy’s blog post5 PR Lessons from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.