A good reputation can be destroyed in minutes. Thanks to the internet and social media, there are now not just more ways to damage reputations, but the bad news will travel faster and further.
The easiest way not to damage a reputation is to not be evil or stupid and to think before going public. It may pay not to tweet when drunk or tired and, in any case, to pause before hitting the send button. Don’t even attempt to tell off-colour jokes in front of people you don’t know and, never, ever do that kind of thing on broadcast television or radio.
You can find more comprehensive advice on the legal aspects of how not to look like a complete bastard or a stupid prat in Tracey Walker’s book Reputation Matters.
I was at the launch last night at Simpson Grierson and managed to have a quick read of a few pages. Three things impressed me:
First, the book is bang up to date. The News Limited phone hacking scandal is a case study. It is also bang up to date in covering the latest social media technologies.
Second, Walker may be a lawyer and this may be a legal guide, but she writes in plain English. The parts I read could even be described as engaging. That’s not how I remember law books. More to the point, its non-intimidating approach makes it a must-have title for every company communications department and public relations professional.
Third, it isn’t about theory, this book is about practice. There are flow charts, lists and diagrams to help you get quickly to the most important points. That’s something you may need to do in a hurry once the reputation. You’ll probably need to call a lawyer too.
At $110 plus GST the book isn’t cheap, but nor is losing your reputation.