Internal communications are
finding their way into the public domain more frequently
than ever. With email becoming ubiquitous and instant
messaging the norm, executives are frequently leaving
their flanks uncovered – and offering sensitive issues
for public consumption.
The problem partly stems
from today’s fast pace. Messages that were once conveyed
in person are now expedited electronically. These
messages are then easily forwarded to friends,
family…and the media.
In many instances,
revelations produced by internal memos can contradict
public policies. For example, an employee who was
benignly freed to pursue career goals may have been
pushed out of the company – and have the emails and
memos to prove it. Or perhaps a new service or product
was scrapped because it was a miserable failure, but the
public stance was that it was “ahead of its time.”
This evidence of corporate
misrepresentation can do serious harm to media
relations. The next time a story is pitched, the
journalist may wonder, “What’s the real story here?”
Losing credibility because of leaked memos can create
serious public relation repercussions.
In today’s information age,
it is best to assume that any internal communication
will eventually see the light of public day. Executives
who realize this can better protect themselves and their
companies by analyzing their choice of communication
channels before committing memos to writing. Some things
are just better said face to face.