You’re angry? So am I then!

So Minister Tony Clement is angry that crooks are using the CRTC’s no-call list as a telemarketing list, thus subverting its intent and causing endless irritation for citizens.

Good for him. People feel betrayed and they are angry, so it’s a good PR strategy to publicly show some empathy. Even if he doesn’t intend to do anything about it? You bet – especially since he doesn’t intend to do anything.

silly or apoplectic

Angry Dion: silly or apoplectic

Like Mr. Clement, Mr. Flaherty likes to get angry at people lacking civic virtues. He pulled the same trick a few months ago about banking machine fees. Then he did it again on gas prices. The anger didn’t produce any measurable results, but everybody concerned can remember that the Minister was angry, just like they were.

But good public anger needs either talent or practice. To take a clear example, Stéphane Dion never got it right. He looked either silly or apoplectic.

Some get caught up in the performance and take it way too far. When John Baird does it (nearly every day it seems), he looks sincerely enraged. He doesn’t seem to be angry with us, but at us. No empathy, just aggression.

enraged

Angry Baird: rage

Seriously, folks. When your spokesperson faces angry, distressed, exasperated or – it happens – joyful people, the very first thing to do is show she/he sincerely shares their feelings. Not to turn them into a torch-wielding mob, but to relate to them. If necessary, have him/her practice before the interviews.

A public figure showing emotion in public may seem corny and manipulative to our jaded eyes, but it helps to establish an understanding with the people you want to communicate with and allows them to hear your message. Especially if the message is only “I care”.

That works

Angry Flaherty: That works

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