Regardless of whether you are responding to a breaking-news story or creating a story of your own, every time you communicate with the media – through news conferences, in one-on-one interviews, on the telephone, via social networks or at fundraisers – you are sending a message. And each of these messages serves as a building block of your public image.

   

Direct messages are usually spoken or written and, therefore, tend to be more clear. Indirect messages are less obvious and usually are conveyed by what you don’t do or don’t say and also can be communicated through unspoken actions.

The way you communicate through indirect messages is as important as your direct messages. You need to be cognizant of how your inaction or action will be perceived. Remember: you can send messages without realizing you are doing so. Don’t automatically assume that by not doing or saying something you are taking a neutral path.

   

If the communications program of your organization is to be effective, it must be researched, planned and executed with precision. One aspect of the external communications effort is the long-range approach to a systematic campaign of public relations.

   

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