In Praise of PR Silence

In Praise of PR Silence.

Editor’s Note: We wanted to share this post, as seen in PR Conversations .  When is it best to remain silent?

By Heather Yaxley, Applause Consultancy

This is possibly the shortest ever post at PR Conversations. Normally we like to stimulate a conversation with a lengthy and considered post. We develop a line of thought and encourage debate and development of our ideas. But sometimes, it is better to write short – to express something in a few choice words, present a succinct phrase or two, or suggest a thought in a concise manner.

I’m not talking about disposable discussion or candyfloss communications. Rather there is merit in being able to précis, synthesise or edit work to its essence. Quality isn’t the same as quantity – whether that is long or short writing. Sometimes an aperitif, amuse-bouche or taster topic is enough to whet the appetite, a few words can get someone thinking or start a conversation.

We all need time to consider what we’ve read or heard. Silence is a key part of effective communications – sales people know when to keep quiet and close the deal, designers know where to use white space to allow words and images to grab attention. In public relations, we seem to feel a need to keep on communicating rather than allow others to reflect. We churn out content, issue release after release of pseudo-news, and craft long speeches when less could be more. Are we scared that we will be forgotten if we haven’t scheduled Tweets every few hours? Do we not have the confidence to leave people wanting more, or to miss our pithy words?

Can we not just relax together in companionable silence?

About the Author: I am proud to be a hybrid academic-educator-consultant-practitioner – a 21st century portfolio worker with a range of interests and commitments across public relations and professional development. After more than a decade at the sharp-end of PR practice in the motor industry, in 2000, I established Applause Consultancy to provide strategic consultancy and educational initiatives. My clients have included large multinationals, trade bodies, not-for-profits and a number of very interesting small-medium enterprises (SMEs).