Behavior IS Communication

The announcement that Indiana Congressman Mark Souder is resigning is a continuing reminder of one of my favorite lines:

BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION

Souder is resigning because he apparently had an affair with a woman hired to host a radio show he was directly involved with on a Christian station in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Indeed, in one reported interview he addressed individual responsibility and fidelity and the value of abstinence.

This continues a clear trend in lying politicians. Sound harsh? Elliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, John Ensign and others sound familiar? These are just the latest batch.

So what is the learning point here? No, I’m not addressing sexual behaviors. I’m addressing something far more basic:

People will value you, believe in you, trust you, based on your behaviors — not your words. Souder spoke eliquently about family values. Now we discover he did not practice what he preached.

Result: He’s gone! Sunk like an oil rig in the Gulf. And with the oil stain included.

Lesson to public relations professionals: make certain your clients and organizations know that behaviors will be evaluated much more strongly and significantly than words. What you DO says more about you than what you SAY.

Think about this: in our personal relationships we judge people more on how they behave than on how they say they behave. Why would it be any different as we look at our relationships with corporations and other organizations.

Ask BP how much people trust them now. Ask people about BP! How do people continue to believe in the safety message Toyota has been sending when their behavior clearly suggests otherwise.

Public Relations professionals take heed! Remind your leadership that BEHAVIOR COUNTS!

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2 thoughts on “Behavior IS Communication

  1. I love it. I remember you talking about this in Management class…behavior IS communication. No matter how great of an interview this politician gives it is unsalvagable due to his behavior. Not to mention in our current social media revolution if you are going to have lousy behavior don’t do it with someone who interviewed you! That interview has recieved tons of hits on youtube and everywhere else it is posted. Similar to John Edwards…not only cheating but cheating where the general public can watch the interactions with the mitress again and again and again.

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