In a Crisis PR situation, executives and business owners must not only prepare for what to say, but also what NOT to say.
The latest Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas served as a prime example of that. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got hit pretty hard by his opponents about past alleged sexual assault and sexual harassment cases for which he settled. There was a point where Senator Elizabeth Warren asked him to release his accusers of the non-disclosure agreements they signed when settling. Bloomberg responded that he wouldn’t, citing that those settlements were entered into by all parties consensually.
Consensually – a “no-no” term when talking about sexual harassment or sexual assault.
I predict Mayor Bloomberg’s choice of words will haunt him throughout the campaign and may derail his chances to secure the party’s nomination for President. It also stands out as a great lesson for CEOs and business owners. If you’re caught in a crisis PR situation, don’t just prepare for what you want to say, but also make sure that you prepare for “gotcha” questions and know what pitfall words to avoid in so as not to dig yourself a deeper hole.
Mayor Bloomberg could have used that advice before the Las Vegas debate.