Not that my parents would’ve bought into this advice.
Because when it came to getting good grades in school, they were resolute.
This happened enough times for me to be grounded in the foundational lesson for every school communicator – perception is reality.
The perception of my parents quickly became my reality.
Growing up in such unfair and horrific circumstances also taught me how to use words and phrases to influence perception; maybe if I could get my parents to perceive that one of my younger brothers was at fault, then perhaps my reality wouldn’t turn out so bad after all.
(But here’s my true confession & conscience clearing sidebar: Actually my parents weren’t fools and therefore usually meted out “consequences” before I could even utter a single word, but that didn’t prevent me from dreaming up potentially world-altering words and phrases in my mind while banished to the solitude of my room.)
I was reminded about the rugged upbringing of my youth when I saw the list of the five “Cs” that comprise the top focus areas (aka strong magnets) for intense media coverage.
You know them well –
Oh, how they attract media attention!
And just like with my parents, the tactic of responding to any of these “Cs” with more talk typically only adds more fuel to the fire.
This is why you should always go for the “E.”
As in Empathy.
When you must respond to your school families, your community, or reach out to staff members due to an unexpected event, pass on the temptation of the “C” (trying to be Clever) and just move toward the “E” (sincere Empathy).
It never fails.
Empathy is the best reality to deploy when attempting to influence perception.
Besides, trying to be Clever seldom succeeds.
And I’ve got loads of Experience to back me up on that one!
Tom Page, SCN Join us on Facebook.