“I’m sorry I was a little stiff yesterday,” the congressman said to the reporters. And thus begins the flurry of activity around Congressman Weiner’s… well… wiener. Never before have so many people had the opportunity to write wiener as part of their job, never before has the media been tossing the word around freely, never before have I published a professional blog posting about a wiener.
Honestly, could you ask for a better subject to work with? From his name to his actions, Congressman Weiner was caught with his pants down… allegedly. And he has caused even some of the most buttoned up reporters to loosen the reigns:
“You would know if this is your underpants, for example?” asked CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
We all get confused, embarrassed and have unfortunate public moments. But a piece of advice: own it. And even if you don’t want to own it per se, don’t deny the obvious. Is that a picture of you? We’re guessing you do know, you just aren’t saying. You may have been better off with “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo” as your answer. It would seriously have lent as much credibility as responding with “I’m not sure.” Very few people do not recognize themselves… very few.
All kidding aside, at least for a bit, there is a right way to deal with a crisis and there is a wrong way. Let’s look at another very public figure caught in a similar controversial situation, Rob Lowe. While he had a bit more latitude as an actor rather than a politician, a scandal is a scandal. Lowe remained poised, graceful and accepted his status as a bad boy. He turned around, embraced and exploited his scandal in Bad Influence, gaining more notoriety and even more money.
Here are some tips to handle a public relations crisis with integrity:
- Tell the Truth – The first thing all of us are taught is to tell the truth, so be honest.
- Make a Statement – Form a clear, concise and honest statement for the press and deliver it.
- Anticipate the Response – Be prepared for the backlash, because there will be backlash.
- Stand Your Ground – If you’ve distributed a truthful statement, just wait. Eventually it will pass.
At the end of the day, you know what they say: go big or go home! And yeah, I want to write it one more time in my professional career, wiener.