Public Relations in Everyday Situations IV – Managing Crisis/Issues

Posted on March 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Have you ever had the experience of having your loved ones getting upset with you? How did you handle it?

What seems to be individual experiences can be used for corporate practices and vice-versa.

Here’s some of my suggestions to managing this kind of issues/crisis:

Staying Silent doesn’t help the issue

When you are angry and the other party chooses to ignore or stay silent and not respond to your anger, you don’t recover that easily. Sometimes, you fume at the fact that the other party doesn’t bother.

The same works in corporate situations, when the company is being questioned, and they don’t respond to their publics, the anger doesn’t just go away, it might get escalated.

Do not get defensive, choose the tone and language carefully.

In times when the temper is flaring, every choice of word and tone matters. What you say, creates a chain effect on the angry party.

If you sound defensive, the other party is going to do the same too. To calm the temperaments, you need to be able to communicate your point of view without sounding defensive. Best is to start from common ground and then slowly infuse your messages.

Guide the party through, in a slow and rational way to explain your thoughts.

In the corporate world, when you face an angry crowd, do the same above. The last thing you want to do, is to sound defensive.

Do not brush off the other party, and push to move on, without first acknowledging the concerns and closing the chapter.

Many a times, in the eagerness to move on, we typically brush off the other party. This infuriates the other party who will then think that you are not taking him/her seriously. It’s better to address the issue or communicate how you are going to resolve the issue, then move on.

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Posted on June 10, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Just felt that the site needed to look fresh.

We continue to discuss why public relations continue to matter in everyday lives.

Perception management is equally relevant for PR 2.0. I call it Building Credibility 2.0.

Kevyn Eng

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Should Ex-CEO’s continue to mentor?

Posted on June 3, 2008. Filed under: Management & Leadership, Uncategorized |

TODAYonline wrote a front page article yesterday (2 June 2008), “Which hat was Tan Kin Lian wearing?”

Tan Kin Lian (Tan) is NTUC Income’s ex-CEO and has since retired from the insurance scene. Backed by years of experience running the nation’s co-operative insurance firm, he began blogging about insurance matters.

As an industry veteran giving excellent advice, his blog site quickly drew high traffic from many Singaporeans.

When NTUC Income decided to adjust the bonus payouts for their policies, Tan disapproved the matter. He took the issue up on the blogsite and spearheaded a collective protest against the policy change.

The arguments got picked up in the mainstream media and was turned ‘ugly’, as reflected in media articles. These articles somewhat created the perception that Tan was cornering the current CEO of NTUC Income, Tan Swee Chieh (TSC), in a clash of personalities. TSC is the successor of Tan since Feb 2007.

Along the way, the two must have departed on their views to run the company.

The article on TODAY brought up an interesting topic for discussion, one that is close to my heart – Should leaders of a company, who have already retired / stepped down, continue to participate in the leadership of the organisation?

Leaders, natural stakeholders of the organisation, would probably have put in heart, blood and sweat into an organisation to make it work. These involves a huge amount of investment, in terms of time, effort and brainpower. Through their high level of involvement, leaders gain deep insights and knowledge of the organisation and would have also developed the management strategy (both short and long term plans) to make the organisation work.

When a new management term takes over, there’s always a new set of management styles, with a different focus of what’s on the priority list.

More often than not, new leaders try to ‘outshine’ their predecessors – which, may not be such a bad thing. However, most end up re-inventing the wheel, which is a waste of time and effort.

With great knowledge and deep insights, past leaders are eager to share their experiences and how they think matters should be done. With this differing agendas, personalities often clash.

This happens to me on a personal level too. I mentor a student club that I was involved in back in my university. The most common comment that I hear from the existing leaders are, ” things are different now, your management strategies won’t work.”

What happens next, is my team and I witnessing the current team running in circles.

On the other hand, there are many best practices that are developed by current batches of leaders that my team would not have thought of. Most importantly, they worked.

The difference is this, we engage. Different batches of leaders meet regularly and we communicate our thoughts. We might ‘agree to disagree’ or we might come to a collaboration.

Regardless of the outcome, we never fight in public. At least, to the club members and our stakeholders, the management team is on the same side and they have got the backing of the seniors.

So, I think that ex-leaders should return to help, as consultants, as advisors to the current management. However, these ex-leaders must learn to let go.

Not everything must be done in the same way. Who is the judge of success? Who knows, perhaps, a short term glitch might be a blessings in disguise?

It’s tough to do that when you’ve got so much interest in the organisation. I’m learning that myself.

What do you think? Should ex-leaders participate in the management of an organisation? I love to hear from you.

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In Singapore, Web is First Source for News

Posted on April 10, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

According to our recent survey, young people in Singapore unanimously go the Internet as their first source for news and information.

FH Singapore conducted a straw poll in March 2008 to seek out Singaporean youth’s preferred channel for sourcing information. 100% of all 45 respondents cited the Internet amongst one of their options. The next most popular choice was print which posted 49%.

The poll, which surveyed an even spread of people aged 20 to 30, revealed that three times more respondents preferred Google over Yahoo to provide them with information.

It is not surprising that in this digital age, the Internet supplants the print and broadcast mediums as the preferred source of information. However, the notion that the Internet is ready to take over traditional forms of media are premature as close to 50% and 31% of youths still rely on the print and broadcast mediums respectively.

What is interesting is that with the proliferation of blogs, they remain amongst the least relied sources of information for Singaporean youths at 3.4%. Blogs need to possess content to drive readership and a following. At present, popular blogs originate in the U.S. In Singapore, the scene is slowing maturing and we believe that in time to come, blogs will play a larger role as an information source.

On the other hand, Singapore’s flagship English daily, The Straits Times, continue to be a preferred medium for youths. The national daily has gone through several revamps to remain relevant to the younger crowd in Singapore. One of the most visible measure is the development of web-driven citizen journalism on a dedicated website, http://www.stomp.com.sg. Editors from The Straits Times typically pick interesting pictures and stories and publish them daily.

-Kelvin Teo & Kevyn Eng from FH Singapore

In Singapore, Web is First Source for News

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Public Relations in everyday situations III – Be up-front in your communications

Posted on April 9, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The purpose of communications is to get a particular message across, effectively to your audience. When the receiver of the message successfully decodes the message, the communication is well delivered.

This becomes especially true when the sender (encoder) is attempting to deliver a negative message.

Here are some of my thoughts:

Point to the matter but not to the culprit

When things go wrong, (and they often do in life) find out what is the root cause of the problem. Position the message such that it is focused on solving the problem rather than blaming a particular person on it.

When there is a human element in it, or if it is a teaching lesson for a person, make sure that the receiver understands that it’s a learning lesson for the future.

Whilst generalising the issue is good, especially to address a ‘principle’ issue, there must be a balance to be struck. When addressing a crowd, avoid over-generalising the issue. When it’s over-generalised, the audience will not understand what is going on. It defeats the purpose of communicating in the first instance.


Sarcastic remarks don’t work. It is anti-communications. If you want to get a point across, sarcasm doesn’t work. Firstly, it sets the receiver in a defensive mode, and that shuts effective communications down.

If that’s not good enough, the negativity of the message will not entice either party to set off to find a solution to the issue or to find a resolution.

Finally, sarcasm clouds the actual message. When both parties are so engrossed with the emotional battle, the actual message is lost.

Keep the message factual and minimize the amount of emotions attached to it, unless it is intended to do so

When you want to get a point across to the person and emotions are added to the message, more often than not, the message is dismissed.

If the message is kept objective, the receiver is usually more open to hearing it, digesting it and acting on it.

This is with the exception of situations when emotions ARE the messages that are to be conveyed. In that case, make it obvious so that the receiver gets the message immediately.

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Conversations that build the brand

Posted on April 8, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I fondly remember the theme song for a particular advertisement, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…”

Today, it’s one of the top brands in the world. To continue the conversation with it’s publics, and to build affinity, they have now got a brand historian sharing the nitty gritty details of the brand with it’s audiences..

Issn’t that interesting? Would you be keen in finding how this particular brand came to be? Or how about visiting the brand fanatic’s house?

It’s creating a third party to endorse your own brand, it’s sharing the brand story to build affinity; it’s ultimately building a reputation for the brand to go on for years to come.

If you are keen, find out more about this brand here!


P.S. Many thanks to David Jones, who highlighted this on his blog http://www.prworks.ca/

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Public Relations in Everyday Situations – Part II

Posted on March 24, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Over the weekend, I was volunteering at my community. After one of the meet-the-people sessions, I had a supper session with a few senior grassroot members.

A senior grassroot leader dispensed this advise as we were talking about experiences as a volunteer, “Always start with the right intentions, it’ll lead you a long way..”

Indeed, the ‘right intentions’ are essential to start any relationship, needless to say, to start the journey on the right footing.

What’s having ‘right intentions’? It’s nothing more than accurate objective setting. Nobody can define what’s ‘right’ about the intention apart from social norms and by an individual’s ethical beliefs.

What’s missing in that statement, IMHO, is to communicate that ‘intention’ to the target audience. When you set expectations straight, good communications fall into place.

In our day to day dealings with people around us, we unwittingly manage their expectations. It is necessary, to maintain a healthy and fruitful relationship.

Managing that expectation, is to communicate your ‘intention’. Putting that intention into perspective is positioning. When one verbalises to best represent that ‘intention’ in the context of a particular topic, the person is delivering key messages.

This is public relations in everyday situations.

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Manhunting Goes Social, Mobile

Posted on March 14, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |


Manhunting Goes Social, Mobile

March 13th, 2008 by NGT

Mas Selamat MMS

A couple of weeks ago, Interpol released an “Orange Notice” for Mas Selamat Kasatari, an infamous terrorist group leader, when he escaped from detention. The ensuing manhunt for Singapore’s most wanted man is being fortified through FacebookThe-New-Faces-at-Facebook and mobile phones.

To help spread a nationwide alert, local carriers SingTel, StarHub and M1 chipped in to disseminate free text messages carrying Mas Selamat’s picture to every mobile subscriber that they have. According to The Straits Times, there are about 5.5 million mobile phone subscriptions in Singapore, and most of the devices today are able to receive such MMS picture messages. The message asks people to call the police if they see the fugitive. For those who cannot receive MMS, a regular SMS message was sent asking them to log onto their carrier’s website to view the image.

Hundreds of citizens have also started Facebook groups and online forums to share intelligence through pictures, posts, and news articles.

We’ve seen this phenomenon all over the world recently–from citizens snapping shots of bloodied monks camera phone during the protests in Burma to MTV’s street team of amateur journalistsCamera-Phone-News Oct-07 and Think.mtv social network around the U.S.’s 2008 elections. This is the new age of communication and information distribution, and it will radically change the way our governments, media outlets and entire infrastructures operate. Now if only someone would snap a photo of Osama bin Laden on their N95…

–Kevyn Eng, NGT Correspondent from FH Singapore

Tags: Asia · Social Networking · Wireless World

Manhunting Goes Social, Mobile

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Sinpapore Wins Inaugural Youth Olympics 2010

Posted on March 9, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The International Olympics Council announced that Singapore will be the host country for the inaugural Youth Olympics 2010. The Youth Olympics will be the Olympic Games for 14-18 year olds and will showcase the best the worlds youth has to offer.

A tiny island state, represented by a red dot on the world map, Singapore beat Moscow to host the games. The decision was announced live via satellite to an enthusiastic crowd gathered at Singapores City Hall with the Prime Minister attending the event.

With the win, Singapore is poised to be the highlight of the world come 2010. This opens up the country to many business opportunities, especially for companies targeting youth.

Kevyn Eng, NGT Correspondent from FH Singapore
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Public Relations is applicable to day-to-day situations – Be sincere in your questions

Posted on March 7, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Many people think that Public Relations are tools available only to businesses. Public relations is really applicable in day-to-day situations.

I’ll be starting a series of PR in day-to-day situation posts. This hopes to relate daily situations with PR fundamentals. Hopefully, with this information, I’ll be part of the many efforts to elevate PR from it’s misconstrued evil cousin who has a reputation of being fake, shallow and insincere.

More often than not, people around us are our resources. From time to time, we ask them questions, hoping to seek some advice and counsel to matters we that are of value to us.

Asking questions and seeking opinions are a great way of checking one’s thoughts and it opens up opportunities to learn new perspectives. At the end of the exercise, it allows us to gain a more holistic view on one’s existing perceptions.

Asking questions and seeking counsel requires skill. Here are some suggestions:

1) Keep an open mind – If you already have a pre-conceived notion of what the answer should be, don’t ask the question. It insults the person who is giving you his point-of-view. Always keep an open mind. In a case where you disagree, you can respond with your personal point-of-view. However, do so only after you have acknowledged the sender’s ideas. Consider before responding. No use getting defensive.

2) Have an objective for questions you ask – If you ask for the sake of asking, you are naturally not open for any answers. In that case, you risk the relationship between the sender and the receiver. Always have rationale for asking the question. Even a simple “I want to ask this question to affirm my decision” could well be a rationale for the question. Do have to take point 1 in consideration though.

3) Present your questions in an open ended manner – Close ended questions have little value. Even if it is irrelevant, there is value in hearing another person’s perspective. It gives you a hint to other subject matters and it might be a piece of useful information.

4) Avoid using the word “Why” or take a questioning tone – You are seeking inputs from the sender in every question you ask. You need to respect that, and for that matter, be appreciative that an answer is shared with you. Remember, the sender has a choice: whether to answer or not. If he / she does, it’s already doing you a favour. Be appreciative and you are off to a good start.

5) Be professional / objective in your questions and thank the answerer at the end of the question. – Being polite helps you build a personal reputation. To avoid being embroiled in a emotional spiral, ask questions as objectively as possible. Avoid embedding emotional elements in your questions. It doesn’t help.

These inputs represents my personal thoughts. Feel free to share yours.

More coming. =)

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