Saturday, October 03, 2009

Crisis lessons from Letterman

David Letterman exposed a potential blackmailer by admitting, live on his TV, show, that he had been involved in affairs with some female staff.The alleged blackmailer had already been arrested by police, after Letterman went to them and explained the threats against him.

The audience were clearly stunned as he made the announcements, in his trademark laconic style, raising a few laughs on the way. It must have been a tough time for him, and not least for his wife and young family. Did he do the right thing? Under the circumstances, yes. Once you have made a mistake, the best thing to do is to come out with your hands up.

Letterman will no doubt have to repair some relationships, but he's saved his career, in my opinion.

Basic rules for managing a media crisis:
1) Recognise that you have a crisis (the most broken rule)
2) Be seen and heard doing the right things
3) Talk to the media as quickly as possible
4) Focus on your feelings about the situation
5) Explain how it won't happen again
6) Become the main source of information
7) Monitor media coverage, responding to any criticism quickly

1 comment:

Liz said...

Hi Alan,

I agree with your analysis. David Letterman did the right thing by being honest and owning up.

This will encourage his audience to trust him in the future, inspite of what may be seen by some as a moral issue.

Thank you for sharing this.

Kind regards and many blessings