Words That Work

The demands placed on communicating with stakeholders are especially high in a crisis.

Clear and unmistakable communication is a must for the police. Choosing the right words is also of crucial importance for companies and organizations during a crisis. Photo: ddp images/Sven Simon

Munich, the capital of the state of Bavaria, was in a state of shock on July 22, 2016. In the early evening, shortly before 6 pm, an eighteen-year-old man had opened fire in the district of Moosach and killed nine people in a quarter of an hour. Rumors and reports of the assault spread through social media like wildfire. Still very present in the minds of Munich’s residents was the Islamist terrorist attack in Paris just eight months before, which had killed 130 people and injured another 683.

The horrific events in Munich came to a close at 8:30 pm when the radical right-wing shooter killed himself. But the public was deeply shaken—and all kinds of false reports had already been spreading for a few hours. The fact that the police department succeeded in reassuring residents and controlling the narrative in the sea of information is a tribute to the work of the team led by Marcus da Gloria Martins, the director of public relations and communications for the Munich police. In calm and clear terms they provided precisely what the public needed to hear: directions, facts—and finally the all-clear.

Read the full article in Porsche Consulting Magazine