As an external media consultant I am acutely aware that some client information is confidential. To not understand that we in the media relations/public relations field have an obligation to deliver an ethical service beats my brain about the bush.
Listed companies cannot afford to be trashed by revelations leaked, nor can small concerns afford to divulge too much detail for competitors to pick-up on.
Who trusts who in this internal versus external channel of ‘need-to-know’ communications?
I have only been asked to sign two confidentiality related agreements in my career: one was in case I became a hidden James Bond type in the diplomatic circles to which I was exposed and the other occurred in my private consultancy. I take it as a compliment that I seldom if at all end up on the receiving end of a hushed “Ssh….lets talk after the meeting…” whisper between client giants in the boardroom.
But it happens. Clients can perceive their external consultants as ‘non-family’ therefore not to be trusted with sensitive information. When one continues to see internal communication or marketing managers not taking their seat at the toppermost table in the boardroom, what chance does the external consultant stand of being recognised for the ethics they uphold and the expertise they offer?
No not all media and pr folk are up to scratch. In the lily pond of media relations and public relations that I play in there is a great and healthy respect for client sensitivities, but there is always the odd croak and grunt across the waters.
If you cannot offer your client a relationship based on professionalism, good ethics and integrity, then I guess there will be a gap in the knowledge sharing process. That is a pity, because to build a really successful relationship there has to be trust.
Likewise if your clients don’t believe you have an important role in the communication circle based purely on externalism phobia, that too is a pity. There has to be trust.
Internal effective communication supports external effective media communications. One can flounder without the other.
Ethics, trust, integrity all high flying wordage . How do you impart it? I believe you are who and what you are. Living and being your own values is how you influence, is how you gain trust.