Lesson from Tiger: How NOT to Manage Your Story

It’s mind-boggling, in the digital age of instant global communication, that anyone still believes the best strategy for managing a news story is to remain silent. It’s especially puzzling that someone with the resources of Tiger Woods, who presumably can afford the best PR counsel available, would be so misguided.

We’ve experienced this lesson before time and time again, and we’re being reminded again: A story doesn’t die when the key figure remains silent; the story only grows bigger as the media continue to spin new angles based on the silence, e.g. speculating that silence indicates a desire to hide something, and then speculating on what that something might be.

The best move in managing a crisis such as Tiger’s is to step out in front of it immediately. Tiger attempted to do that when he posted a message on his blog, but his evasiveness left more questions than it answered. If he had, instead, held a brief news conference, issued a statement that briefly explained the circumstances of his mishap, and asked for privacy so that his family could deal with the aftermath, the public would have been sympathetic and the story soon forgotten.

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