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What You Can Learn About HR Communication from FEMA’s Fake News Conference

What You Can Learn About HR Communication from FEMA’s Fake News Conference

by Frank Roche on November 1, 2007

in Communication

Last week, FEMA held a “news conference” to answer questions about the California wildfires. Amazingly, all the questions by “reporters” were softballs that allowed FEMA to present a story of unparalleled success in its handling of the crisis. The only problem? Those weren’t reporters. They were FEMA employees.

Now there’s massive fallout. The head of FEMA’s public affairs group was fired. Darned right.

Here’s a lesson for HR communicators: Employees’ BS Radar is on high alert. They can tell when they’re being managed and manipulated. They know softballs when they see them. And they can tell the difference between PR and authenticity.

If you think you’re fooling anyone by “managing the message,” the only one you’re fooling is yourself. Talk to people like grownups. In case you haven’t noticed, they are.

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