I read a great article on LinkedIn from Lucy Marcus, CEO, BBC columnist, and host of Reuters “In the Boardroom with Lucy Marcus.” It pointed out that with all the breaches in data going on, perhaps one of the easiest and least thought of ways to spill the company beans is talking in public places.
Her first example was about an executive in an airplane lounge speaking on a mobile phone about what will happen to board members and employees before the company announces its initial public offering (IPO). Here’s another insightful excerpt:
“Bucolic public gardens are not immune. Imagine my surprise when two senior executives of a large public company had a frank talk about their board meetings while standing over my son and me as we were pond dipping. We’d been there for a little while and I suppose we looked harmless enough, just a mother and her son. These guys paused in their walk to gaze over the pond, talking intimate board business and plans for the future. This case was a bit more embarrassing because I actually knew a lot about the company and people they were talking about.”
As a PR professional, we’re often called upon to train executives on how to speak to the media to convey company messages without PR blunders. We remind them that they need to be careful about what they say on social media or even in private meetings (think Romney’s 47% lesson).
This story reminds us that educating CEOs about what they say on mobile phones or at the park can save them a lot of grief later on.
Are you guilty of occasional loose lips?
Tags: Alpine Communications, media, media relations, PR, Wendy Alpine