It was a day like any other day in the late 80s/early 90s, and since it was a day that ended in the letter ‘Y’, my little brother and I were fighting. While growing up, we were constantly fighting. Someone did this, someone took that, someone looked at the other crazy… You get the general idea.
This fight was no different. At some point in the argument, I yelled, “I’M GONNA GO TELL DAD,” who was outside talking with one of the neighbors. This started a back-and- forth of uh-huhs and nuh-uhs, and at some point, I took off running full speed out the front door to tell my dad the horrible, awful, stupid, annoying, etc. thing my brother had done.
As I reached my dad and the neighbor, they were in the middle of a conversation, and while I can’t remember how old I was when this happened, I was old enough to know you didn’t interrupt adults when they were talking. So, I stood there, and anxiously waited to be acknowledged so I could do the sisterly thing and snitch on my brother. I never got that chance.
Before my dad and the neighbor were done talking, my little brother came flying out the front door, flailing, screaming and hollering at the top of his lungs, “SHE’S LYING DAD! DON’T LISTEN TO HER! I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!” As soon as he got to where we were, Dad simply looked at him and said, “What did you do?”
Cute story, but what the heck does it have to do with PR? Don’t be my little brother. Yes, something bad happened, and yes, you should respond, but don’t just wing it and hope for the best. Don’t freak out and just blurt out the first thing that crosses your mind. Stop, calm down and think it over for a minute. Is this worth responding to? If so, then respond in a way that addresses the situation, contributes to the conversation and hopefully places you in a better light than you were in before you started speaking. If it’s worth responding to, then it’s worth responding to properly.