Free PR Tip of the Week: Silence is Golden

In the wake of the Tiger Woods scandal, I’d like to give you a piece of public relations advice: shhhh.

It’s a natural inclination to try to fill silence, to defend ourselves against detractors, to make things right when we’ve done wrong … and generally say anything that pops into our head to fill an awkward lull in the conversation.

It’s an old reporter’s trick – they ask a question, the interviewee answers, and the reporter continues to look at them expectantly. Pay attention to what happens … the uninformed start jabbering because they cannot stand the silence. The smart ones just look back and keep their lips zipped.

So practice keeping your mouth shut. I find a great way to do this is to ask your kids a question, then just keep looking at them after they answer. Stare long enough and they’ll admit to stealing toys from Santa just to get you to stop looking at them.

Tiger, if you’re listening, decline the interviews. Quit making statements. Stay home and turn off your ringer. Trust me, someone else will do something stupid and the headlines will shift.

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