Choosing not to comment during a crisis can be a missed opportunity. Think carefully before you tell a reporter “no comment” because you could be bypassing a golden opportunity to tell your version of the truth.

When dealing with situations that require high-stakes and crisis PR support, one of the worst mistakes that can be made is refusing to engage and make your perspective heard. You may be missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

In order to perform their jobs ethically and responsibly, reporters must give a fair opportunity for the subjects of their stories to provide their side of the story. How else could a reporter demonstrate objectivity unless he/she affords a chance to people on opposing sides of an issue to express themselves?

By avoiding a reporter and deciding not to offer comment, the individual may be communicating the opposite of what he or she is hoping. Take advantage of the situation and make sure your side of the story gets told.

Red Banyan  works closely with businesses facing complex and serious situations and in virtually every case we advise our clients to have something to say, and to take the time to engage with reporters and to supply valuable information that will help the journalists gain a fuller understanding of the circumstances.

Clamming up and running from reporters is not a strategy, but a tactic (and a bad one at that). Refusing to comment is a surefire way to leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions. Willful avoidance to answer questions typically suggests that somebody has something to hide.

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Not making a statement can often make an incredibly strong statement. In fact, sometimes saying “no comment” is construed as an admission of guilt, or at least a red flag. Telling your side of the story in your own words is key to effective crisis communications.

Here are four reasons why it may be in your interest to comment:

  • Providing comments provides context and perspective. If you tell your side of the story, you can describe contributing circumstances, offer context and relevant points of view.
  • Offering commentary allows you to tell your version of the story, instead of reacting to someone else’s version of the facts. It is always good to be able to tell your story in your own words. When you react to someone’s else’s view of the truth, you are allowing them to steer the conversation.
  • Outlining your organization’s position on your own terms can steer the narrative in the direction you want it to go. Conversations do not always go the way you want them to go, but your chances are better if you are able to get the facts on the record yourself.
  • Allows you to respond to comments that are already on the record. Comments could have been made that are false, and if you do not respond, they will be accepted as truth. Use interview opportunities to set the record straight.