It used to be a lot easier to not say anything. After all, with the way the world used to work, the majority of businesses, organizations and individuals had little chance of being heard in the first place. Even if you had something to say, the ways to get it out into the public were pretty much limited to paid advertising and appealing to various media outlets to tell your story.

Now – holy moly – there are countless ways to relay messages to the public. From social media to websites to email campaigns, everyone has virtual access to as many ears as they can bend.

So what does this mean? It means that you can’t say nothing. Before, saying nothing made you indistinguishable from those who were trying to say something but weren’t being heard. You blended right in.

Today, saying nothing makes you stand out. There are no more excuses. Everyone who knows what they’re doing is using various media to communicate with the public. You don’t want people to think you don’t know what you’re doing, right? Right!

Because this is the reality right now:

  • If you’re the only jewelry store in the city without a website, you will be the last store visited by a first-time shopper.
  • Complaints are made through social media. A quick, friendly and helpful response makes a business look super. But if you don’t promptly and appropriately respond such complaints, the foible is out there for everyone to see.
  • An organization who wants their project to be read about in the media writes about it on their own and posts it on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Delicious pages. Ding! It’s published and circulating. And then they’ll probably send it to media outlets too. If you only faxed a one-paragraph announcement to the local newspaper, you have just let your organization’s accomplishments be scooped.
  • When others begin to talk about your story before you, or you never weigh in at all – then you’re really standing out.

So what’s the solution? Say something. All the time.

Now, to be clear, we don’t advocate for saying just anything. Choosing the right things to say is important, but it shouldn’t be paralyzing. A lot of businesses and organizations fear that saying something about a touchy issue could get them into trouble. Possibly. But not as much trouble as saying nothing. There are many, many smart ways to deal with complaints and negativity. Saying nothing only says (loudly) you don’t know any of them.