Putting a Positive Spin on Life: What to Say When Shit Happens
We all experience times when we are less than proud of the situation we are in. If you are a business leader who has a few things to learn about the fine art of discretion, it can be especially embarrassing. How do you come back from public embarrassment? What can you tell people who push for answers you don’t feel like speaking about? Quite often making no comment is simply not an option. Public relations and communications professionals are known for their ability to soften the language around less than optimal circumstances. This is what is known as spin. I thought it might be a fun exercise to try to reposition a few of these circumstances. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a CEO to use them. These terms can be helpful to anyone with a pulse. Let me know what you think!
Unemployed: Most people have to endure the pain of losing their job sooner or later. Right or wrong, many people equate their value with what they do for a living, and who wants to have to explain the circumstances around a dismissal? It’s nobody’s business, but don’t worry. You are not actually unemployed. You are “between opportunities”. Isn’t that nicer?
Lost driver’s license due to DUI conviction: This may not happen to everyone, but people get charged with impaired driving all the time. Having said that, who wants to admit it to their employer and colleagues? If you end up having to take your bicycle to work, simply explain that you are concerned about the environment and are “reducing your carbon footprint”. What’s wrong with that?
Still single or divorced: I don’t know why, but being unmarried (whether single or divorced) seems to spark a certain amount of judgement from married people. It’s as though being married is the key to happiness. Trust me when I tell you it isn’t. From here on in, should someone ask about your marital status tell them you are “living on your own terms”. Anyone who is married will suddenly wish they weren’t.
Obsessive behaviour: Is your antique Barbie collection getting out of control? Do you feel compelled to wipe everything down before you touch it? Don’t worry. You are simply “passionate”. You love your collection, and you can never be too clean, can you? Besides, your mental health is nobody’s business.
Having an extramarital affair: Just when you thought you could enjoy a little side fling, people start asking questions about your activities. Perhaps this is a good time to tell people you are “expanding your social interests”. What’s wrong with making more friends? Don’t hit me. I’m just having fun with words, here.
Drunk and sloppy: Uh oh. Too much wine at the party has you “feeling a little out of sorts”. Call a cab, if you don’t want to be forced into reducing your carbon footprint.
Calls from bill collectors: So here you are. After being between opportunities for a little too long, the bills got harder to pay and just when you were sitting down with a friend the phone rang from a bill collector. How humiliating. Why do people always feel compelled to ask you who just called? Don’t worry. It was only someone “offering financial advice”. Good one, eh?
Bankruptcy: Sometimes when it rains it pours. Your decision to expand your social interests coupled with the time you spent between opportunities has forced you to live life on your own terms and go bankrupt. That sucks, but don’t worry. The only reason you don’t have a car or a nice house full of art and furniture anymore is because you have decided to reduce your carbon footprint and “embrace minimalism”. Who needs all that crap, anyway?
So there you have it. Now you’ve got a new way to look at your circumstances and a more palatable explanation, in case one is required. Let’s have some fun coming up with embarrassing circumstances and trying to create a positive spin. Write your suggestions in the comments section. Life is best taken with large doses of laughter!
Few public relations & communications specialists have as diverse a background as Renée Cormier. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. In her career Renée has held leadership roles in sales and marketing, developed and implemented national marketing strategies and was responsible for teams as large as 28 strong. She brings a wide range of experience and talent to her work.
Renée really shines in communications. She is known for developing and implementing comprehensive communications strategies and generating results through flawless implementation. With such strong business acumen, passion for her work and a natural talent for business strategy, Renée is definitely considered an important resource for her clients. Is your business in transition? Do you need help with your communications or public relations efforts? Contact Renée through her website.
Follow me on Twitter @reneecormierpr.
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