Is Transparency Always Best?

Is honesty always the best policy?

In PR, we often talk about transparency. Being open and honest with your public is the best way to keep a good relationship – just with any other relationship you hold in life. But during a crisis, should you tell everything?

There was recently a situation I witnessed where the executive director of a nonprofit organization resigned. This isn’t typically earth-shattering news; however, he gave no notice (left immediately), and it happened on a Tuesday (odd). The press release cited “personal reasons” for his departure. This sounds fine and dandy, but it leaves so many questions unanswered.

Unanswered questions are where problems start to form.

If a question is left unanswered, it leaves room for speculation which leads to gossip. ‘What’s the real reason?’, everyone wants to know. ‘Something had to have happened.’ When people are left to their own imagination to answer these questions, their answers are likely more severe and dramatic than the real answers.

So yes, honesty is the best policy. Avoid speculation by being open and honest with your publics.

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