Last week I wrote about writing effectively for your audience. Whether we’re sharing a white paper, a tweet, or a blog post—understanding your message and how you want to convey it is crucial.
Clearly, effective communication isn’t just about how you share your content, but the sentiment in which you write it.
Lately, we’re missing the mark.
At the Oscars, two separate on-air hosts caused outrage when their misled comments struck racial undertones:
- Giuliana Rancic on actress Zendaya’s hair: patchouli oil…and weed.
- Ohio TV host calls Lady Gaga’s music “jigaboo”
Quick to make amends, both hosts apologized through social media shortly thereafter, but the damage was done. The 24-hour news cycle, combined with social media, has made sharing feelings and opinions a bit too easy.
We’re all under the gun to produce content; to write (or speak) insightful, funny, hard-hitting, provocative, things. But we must be clear with our intent in advance, not after. If spokespersons or authors don’t believe in what they are saying (or being asked to say), they should not say it. It’s that simple. Whether or not Giuliana Rancic truly meant what she said (or was told to say it), she’s the one left holding the bag.
By transitioning into this age of apology, rather than thinking before we speak, we weaken our reputation, our brand, and our relationships.
Let’s read more, discuss more, and think more before we hit “send.” Ultimately we’ll save both time and face.