Crisis Management Quotables…on Intent and Reality

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It’s important to test your communications to see how they sound coming out of your mouth before sharing in public

We return to our Crisis Management Quotables with a line from a great thinker. Herman Hesse authored, among other works, Steppenwolf, Siddartha, and The Glass Bead Game, and left a host of thought-provoking quotes behind in addition to this impressive body of work.

“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” — Hermann Hesse

When communicating in crisis you will, typically, be putting statements down in writing before you ever say them out loud. Not only that, but you’ll be revising them, probably several times. What’s important, and what Hesse clearly understood, is that you try your words on for size before you put them out for public consumption, preferably in front of an audience that will keep things confidential and isn’t afraid to share their true thoughts.

You see, very often things sound good on paper, or even read in the privacy of your own head, that project the complete opposite of the image you’re aiming for, and it’s easy for even a trained mind to miss them until they’re coming out of your mouth.

Next time you’re tasked with speaking on a critical manner, grab a few trusted colleagues (even better if they’ll record you for review), and try your statements on for size. You’d be surprised at how words change the moment, as Hesse said, they are spoken out loud.

Erik Bernstein

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