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Communicator of the Week: Eric Schmidt

21st May 2013

When businesses are faced with a crisis, decision making can sometimes go slightly awry. People get in a flap, fail to react in a timely fashion and also forget to try and win the argument at hand in the way they would when the waters are calm.

That is why I was so pleased to see a globally recognisable business leader keeping his head, positively putting across his point of view this week.

Google – informal company motto “Don’t be evil” – has been under increasing pressure over its tax affairs in recent months. They are not alone in this regard, one of a number of businesses criticised by MPs and pressure groups who have undermined their reputation with consumers.

Many of these businesses go into crisis mode, hoping it will all blow over, and so fail to make an argument for what they do and the good they bring to the countries they operate in.

This is why I was so pleased to see a different approach by Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, who wrote an article in last Sunday’s Observer taking on Google’s critics and effectively communicating his views.

There is an art to writing a good opinion piece for a newspaper which involves taking the reader through your argument carefully and deliberately, shunning soundbites and glib phrases. Different sides to an argument can be explored, with supporting statistics and quotes used to good effect. Only then will a comment editor agree to publication – a household name is rarely enough to secure this.

The result of this process, as was seen with Eric Schmidt’s article, is good coverage in other newspapers and on broadcast, secured quickly with minimum investment of resources. It is also an additional way to get your message across, proving this is possible even in a crisis situation. This is why Eric Schmidt is my Communicator of the Week.

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications

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