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NEW YORK (May 13, 2020) — As the nation begins implementing plans to reopen, Logos Consulting Group will continue practicing social distancing while also providing the personal touch our clients expect.

“Connecting closely with clients is and always will be our highest priority, in whatever form that takes,” said Helio Fred Garcia, president of Logos Consulting Group. “These are some of the hardest times for many leaders and organizations, which is why it is more important than ever before for us to be available.”

Logos Consulting Group helps leaders and their organizations manage choices when stakes are high, communicate effectively when trust is on the line, and strengthen leadership skills to inspire action.

“We have been advising institutions and their leaders directly in the midst of COVID-19,” added Garcia. “Right now, we’re providing immediate counsel to clients in both our crisis management and crisis communication practice, as well as virtual coaching for multiple leadership levels and designated spokespeople.”

Logos Consulting Group has also been studying trends on leadership in COVID-19 and has written and spoken extensively about these findings. Logos associates have spoken publicly at a variety of webinars, virtual conferences, and coaching sessions including the Defense Innovation Network, Public Relations Society of America, Professional Speechwriters Association/Executive Communication Council, and others to include events for our clients. Topics have included best practices in communication during COVID-19, maintaining powerful presence in a remote environment, effective social media messaging, and more.

“This is not the end of the crisis, it is the end of the beginning,” said Garcia. “We are not slowing down, and if anything, we are making ourselves more available than ever before by guiding our clients through this crisis.”

To explore how Logos Consulting Group can help you, contact us via email here or via our website here.

 

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“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

~ George Washington Carver

So: You’re wearing a mask and keeping a socially responsible distance. You’re staying safe but taking long daily walks in the nearly empty streets of New York City to keep yourself healthy and sane. You peer into the dark, empty storefronts as you stroll along. You arrive at the place you always found familiar and comforting; it now looks abandoned and forbidding. There is no human to greet you, only a few words on a single page attached to the front door. Almost every door on every street has a similar sign.

As the days of shutdown have dragged on, I’ve become intrigued by these signs, snapping pictures of at least 100 of them. I’ve read the words again and again. They are breathtaking in their sameness, leading me to the question: How much difference can a few words on a simple sign possibly make?

Businesses reopening in the aftermath of the current crisis may soon find out.

Sometimes the message on the door is just one word – “Closed.” Not terribly helpful, is it? That feels more like the end of a relationship than a reassurance that you and your spot will be reunited in the future.

While heavily trafficked commercial chains may have a following who look for convenience alone, a cozy neighborhood haunt cannot exist without building an emotional bond – appreciation, affection, even love – with its customers. When that business closes indefinitely, or its hours are suddenly and severely curtailed, anxious customers need to see words of gratitude, emotion, and empathy: “We thank you.” “We appreciate you.” “We miss you.” “We understand what you are going through because we are going through it, too.”

Empathy should start right there at the front door.

Surprisingly, even in these difficult times, when those words of connectivity matter most, when customers expect to find love letters from deeply grateful owners, they find crisis boilerplate instead, often written in haste, dashed off as a formality and perhaps copied from a neighboring establishment. Even worse, sometimes, the desired words do not appear at all.

That strategically placed sheet of paper – occasionally drafted with the assistance of a lawyer or a communications professional – may be instructive but it’s not terribly personal. Or authentic. Or meaningful.

That kind of corporate jargon often makes me stop reading – I imagine you know the phrases: “our top priority,” “we are closely monitoring,” “we are committed to …”  But owners use them because they know they need to communicate quickly with customers coming to the door, and they want the message to sound official. Professional communicators reading this will understand that the sign on the door is a kind of stand-by statement to let the entire world, including those critical customers, know what is going on in that moment and what they can expect while the crisis – and temporary closure – continues.

As my colleague, Helio Fred Garcia, has written in The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis, an insightful guide to crisis decision-making (even during one not of your own making), critical communications like that sign on the door should embrace five fundamental elements:

  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT – a statement of awareness that something has happened.
  2. EMPATHY – an expression of empathy or sympathy to those who are hurting or inconvenienced – and in COVID-19 times, everyone is hurting and inconvenienced.
  3. VALUES – a declaration of the business’ values – including how much that business values those customers.
  4. APPROACH – a summary of the actions the business is taking in the wake of the crisis.
  5. COMMITMENT – a statement that sets future expectations, i.e., “We will keep you up-to-date as we hear any important news and will let you know when we can reopen. We will be here for you online even while we are closed.”

[For a quick summary of these elements, see the Leadership Lesson on Standby Statements]

In all fairness, I’m sure these independent owners also mean to communicate how much they love and miss their customers. But their words – crafted out of necessity and in great haste from a template – don’t quite resonate. They don’t quite say: We are closed, but we miss you and are still there for you.

Contrast those signs with recent updates that a certain coffee company has posted on Instagram – the digital front door for many contemporary consumers. Note the likes and comments.

So, for owners of shuttered businesses – small or large, mighty or nimble – here are two important questions you should ask yourself:

1. How can you communicate your message in conversational human language, rather than boilerplate jargon? You’re dealing with ordinary humans. Why not sound like one?

2. How can you include a message of gratitude at the very top of the page? Owners should express their sincere thanks to the customer who has arrived at the door in the first sentence or two. What would happen if the language of the sign started there? Only good things, I promise you.

Here are some signs that hit the mark beautifully. Which ones do you like best?

One last thought: many of the signs that I see on the doors have been left there unchanged for weeks.

Dear shop owners— It’s not too late to change that sign!

Love,

Your Devoted Customer

New York, NY (April 14th, 2020) – The Chinese language edition of The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis by Helio Fred Garcia has been published by the Posts & Telecom Press, a leading publisher of business and non-fiction titles in China. The publisher has positioned the book as an essential tool for Chinese leaders in all sectors to help restore trust and confidence of stakeholders lost in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am thrilled that this edition of The Agony of Decision is available at a moment of unprecedented crisis,” said Garcia. “As the recovery from COVID-19 continues, there is an opportunity to regain trust that has been lost and note the lessons that this pandemic has taught not only China, but the world.”

The Agony of Decision is the first title published by Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press in July 2017. The Chinese language title is 从危到机: 危机中的决策之痛与领导之术.

The Chinese edition was translated from English by Xinyin Lu, deputy director, the Institute of Corporate Communication at the Academy of Media and Public Affairs at the Communication University of China and by Dr. Steven Guanpeng Dong, Chair Professor and Dean of the School of Government and Public Affairs at the Communication University of China, the leading Chinese university specializing in journalism, communication, documentary filmmaking, and related disciplines. Dr. Dong also wrote the foreword to the Chinese edition.

You can learn more about the English edition here. The Chinese edition is available as a physical book, an e-book, and an audio book at all major Chinese online markets, including DangdangJDTaobao (Alibaba), and Amazon China.

For media inquiries, please reach out to Maida K. Zheng, mzheng@logosconsulting.net or at 646-338-0422.

NEW YORK, NY (March 25, 2020) – As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worsens, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership advises clients to be prepared and vigilant in the seven dimensions of COVID-19.

The unprecedented scope of this crisis makes it difficult to predict what will happen next, and is unlike all others: COVID-19 unlike prior pandemics, natural disasters, and corporate implosions, is a situation that is constantly changing, and fundamentally reshaping the management of response.

“We have reviewed thousands of communications by CEOs, university presidents, NGO executive directors, secretaries general, and public officials,” said Helio Fred Garcia, president of Logos Consulting. “We identified patterns that help leaders and their organizations make smart choices and avoid unnecessary reputational damage and inadvertent self-inflicted harm.”

The unique challenge of COVID-19, Garcia explains, is that “It incorporates seven crises in one,” and he advises leaders across all industries to “be aware of every category that they must address”.

“There’s a danger that a leader might be so focused on any one of the dimensions that he or she will miss the need to address the others,” explained Garcia.

 

The Seven Dimensions of the COVID-19 Crisis Are:
  • Public Health
  • Business
  • Economic
  • Information
  • Competence of Government
  • Social
  • Mental Health

Media personnel should contact: Maida K. Zheng, mzheng@logosconsulting.net or 646-338-0422

WORDS ON FIRE:    

The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It

 

Author and leadership communication professor Helio Fred Garcia documents President Donald Trump’s increasingly dangerous rhetoric, from his campaign through the first 2 ½ years in office, and how some lone wolves were motivated by that rhetoric to commit violence, in his new book, WORDS ON FIRE: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. Published by Radius Book Group, Words on Fire is scheduled for release on June 30, 2020.

WORDS ON FIRE is about the power of communication to do great harm, and how civic leaders and engaged citizens can hold leaders accountable to prevent such harm. Garcia focuses on the language President Trump uses that conditions an audience to accept, condone, and commit violence against a targeted group, rival, or critic. The book includes a history of such rhetoric and identifies a playbook of twelve forms of communication that typically precede acts of mass violence up to and including genocide. The Nazis used all twelve; the Rwandan Hutu used ten. Trump uses all twelve. Garcia also introduces a new, more accessible name for rhetoric that provokes violence: lone-wolf whistle violence, on the model of “dog whistle” politics, where politicians use coded language that conveys one meaning, usually benign, to most people, but a different meaning to members of a certain group or followers of a certain ideology.

“In my teaching and research, I study patterns: patterns that help leaders enhance competitive advantage, build trust and loyalty, and change the world for the better. I also note patterns that predictably, even if unintentionally, lead to hurt, to harm, and to violence,” said Garcia. “In reflecting on the President’s language, I noticed a pattern: He was using the very same rhetorical techniques that had preceded previous mass murders, including genocides. I worried that, left unchecked, he would continue, with increasingly dire consequences.”

WORDS ON FIRE describes the changes in the nation’s political culture and media that led to Trump’s nomination and presidency. It profiles leaders who dialed back their rhetoric when it was shown to put people’s lives at risk. The book closes with a call to action: We can learn the lessons of today to prepare for tomorrow, to help civic leaders, engaged citizens, journalists, and public officials recognize the phenomenon and take steps to hold other leaders accountable in the future when they use such language.

 

Advance Praise for Words on Fire

“Language is power, and powerful. It can uplift, or harm. Helio Fred Garcia is an astute student of language and communication. This book offers historic examples, keen insights and valuable advice on recognizing patterns of language that can harm or lead to violence.”

—  Former Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security spokesman, Col. David Lapan, USMC (Ret)

Words on Fire serves as a guiding light during this dark moment in our history. Every American should read this timely, imperative book if we are to save our democracy.”

—  Gold Star Parent and Immigrant American Khizr Khan

“Words On Fire should be mandatory reading and a guide book for every journalist, business school, religious leader, and elected official. Important institutions in our society and culture have the affirmative responsibility to stand up and speak out against the users and use of dangerous language.”

—  James E. Lukaszewski, America’s Crisis Guru®

“This is a highly readable guide to how we can call out and combat Trump’s toxic language and malignant agenda, and push back against the corrosive forces that enable Trumpism and put our country in peril.”

—  Evan Wolfson, Founder, Freedom to Marry

“Garcia, a proven scholar on communication, identifies rhetoric that breeds violence, affirms autocracy, and prompts terrorism as well as critical responses to those developments that serve as antidotes to trouble and strategies for building a more equitable, united world.”

— Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President Emeritus, Interfaith Alliance

 

About the Author

For nearly 40 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. Garcia is a coach, counselor, teacher, writer, and speaker whose clients include some of the largest and best-known companies and organizations in the world including. He has worked and taught in dozens of countries on six continents.

Since 1988 Garcia has been an adjunct professor of management at the New York University Stern School of Business executive MBA program, where he teaches crisis management and was named Executive MBA Great Professor in 2016. He is an adjunct associate professor of management and communication at NYU School of professional studies where he teaches communication strategy, communication ethics and law, and crisis communication.

Garcia is also an adjunct associate professor of professional development and leadership at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he teaches ethics, crisis, and leadership.

He is a senior fellow at the Institute of Corporate Communication at Communication University of China. He is a contract lecturer at the Defense Information School and at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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Media Contact:

Johanna Ramos-Boyer

JRB Communications, LLC

703-646-5137

Johanna@jrbpr.biz

New York, NY (Nov. 17, 2017) – On Thursday, November 16, 2017, the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership honored America’s Crisis Guru ®, James E. Lukaszewski with the inaugural Outstanding Leader Award. That evening, nearly 50 communication industry professionals came together to celebrate Lukaszewski’s storied career and contributions to the field.

The Outstanding Leader Award recognizes established industry professionals for their consequential professional achievements that set the aspirational standard for others, and the recipient’s excellence in the use of strategic communication to achieve professional or business objectives with substantial and positive results. Recipients also possess the impressive ability to inspire and empower others through their status as role models, trusted advisors, and visionaries.

 

“When considering who to honor with our inaugural Outstanding Leader Award, Jim was our immediate first thought,” said Helio Fred Garcia, president of Logos Consulting Group. “Jim has not only set a high standard through his decades of leadership as America’s Crisis Guru, but his scholarship and mentorship of others, including myself, has made a lasting impact on field.”

For more than four decades, Lukaszewski has helped senior leaders facing crisis get through challenges with focus, ethics, and decisive action. President and Chairman of the Board of The Lukaszewski Group Inc., Lukaszewski is a highly regarded leader in crisis management and strategic communication. In addition to advising to those “at the top,” Lukaszewski has also dedicated much of his career to sharing his wisdom and time with students and young professionals only starting their careers. With 13 books and hundreds of articles and monographs authored, his mentorship and leadership influence have easily touched thousands.

“I want to have an important, constructive impact on the lives of people and organizations I help. My ultimate goal in working with other PR professionals or staff members is to help them learn to have happier, successful, and more important and influential lives,” said Lukaszewski. “I’m honored these efforts are recognized by Logos.”

New York, NY (Jan. 4, 2017) – The book, The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively by Helio Fred Garcia, is beginning its fifth year on the Professional Reading List of the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

The Commandant’s Professional Reading List was launched in 1989 by then-Commandant Gen. Alfred Gray. The List consists of more than 150 books divided into 19 groups; ten of the groups are rank-specific, nine are in categories such as Leadership, Strategic Thinking, Counterinsurgency, and Aviation. The Power of Communication is one of eight books in the Leadership category.

“I have had the honor of teaching and consulting with Marines and of getting to know them for more than 25 years. In that time, I’ve been impressed with their commitment to training, teaching, and learning,” said Garcia. “The commitment of those at the top to reading, thinking, and reflecting just enhances my view of Marines. I think that would be the case even if my book wasn’t on the list. But it’s an added honor, privilege, and delight for me to know that I can continue to influence Marines and their way of thinking at a distance.”

The books on the Commandant’s Professional Reading List were selected as most pertinent to critical thinking and professional development at each rank. At minimum, three books per year are required to fulfill annual reading criteria for all active duty and reserve Marines, officers and enlisted. The Professional Categories section presents recommended reading for exploration of selected topics.

The Power of Communication is about how leaders can inspire, persuade, and earn the confidence of stakeholders. The books is written primarily for civilian business leaders, but it adapts the leadership principles of the Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication No. 1, Warfighting, as a conceptual framework to help leaders become habitually strategic.

New York, NY (Dec. 14, 2016) – Logos Institute President Helio Fred Garcia was a keynote speaker at the U.S. Air Force Worldwide Public Affairs Conference in Washington, DC on December 6, 2016.

The conference, last held five years ago, is an opportunity for about 300 of the 5,500 U.S. Air Force public affairs officers to hear from commanders about priorities, learn and share best practices, and attend workshops on specific skills.

The four-day conference included presentations from a range of military and civilian speakers, including the commanding general of Air Force Public Affairs, Brigadier General Ed Thomas and the Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Deborah Lee James. 

“I’m honored to be one of the speakers,” Garcia said, “I hope the decision criteria Logos developed will guide leaders in the U.S. Air Force through crises and emerge with stakeholders’ trust.”

Garcia has been advising elements of the U.S. military for more than 25 years.  His primary military client is the U.S. Marine Corps, but over the years he has also worked with all branches of the U.S. armed forces through various joint commands.  He is also a contract teacher at the U.S. Defense Information School, in Fort Meade, Maryland, where, among other branches, he teaches Air Force Public Affairs officers.

New York, NY (Oct. 18, 2016) – The Korean language edition of Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication has been published by Alma Books, a publisher based in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The Korean language book title is 명성 경영 전략. The book is co-authored by Logos Institute executive director Helio Fred Garcia and John Doorley.

Reputation Management is a how-to guide for professional communicators and business executives, as well as advanced students in communication. The co-authors’ work is supplemented by contributions by leading practitioners who wrote chapters or supplemental material on their areas of particular expertise.  From Logos Consulting Group these include Anthony Ewing (Corporate Responsibility), Laurel Hart (Social Media), and Raleigh Mayer (sidebar on The Art of the Pitch). The investor relations chapter was jointly written by Helio Fred Garcia and Eugene L. Donati.

“It’s an honor to see the Korean language edition of Reputation Management is published,” said Garcia, “I’m glad that the book will be helpful to leaders and organizations in Korea.”

The English language editions of Reputation Management have been adopted by both graduate and undergraduate programs in dozens of universities around the world.  The book serves as the foundation of the curriculum in New York University’s MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication.

In 2015 Helio Fred Garcia was one of four international crisis experts to speak in Seoul, Korea to government, corporate, and public health officials in the wake of several major crises that rocked Koreans’ confidence in their leaders. Cosunilbo, Korea’s largest newspaper, hosted the Chosun Issue Forum, Crisis Management in Post-MERS Korea. He was also profiled in ChosunBiz, a weekly business newspaper, on recent crises in Korea and around the world.

The Korean edition can be purchased here.

New York, NY (Sep. 23, 2016) – The Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership is launching a joint intensive crisis response seminar with Communication University of China in Beijing. This will be the first educational initiative jointly offered by, and jointly credentialed by, Logos Institute and a leading university.

Communication University of China is one of the top public universities in China. It is ranked No.1 in media education and ranked No.1 among language universities in China.

Garcia said, “It’s an honor to be in this joint effort. It will be such a great opportunity for Logos Institute to exchange insights around crisis response with a prestigious Chinese university.”

The seminar will be conducted in Beijing on February 22, 23, and 24, by Logos president Helio Fred Garcia, research fellow Iris Wenting Xue, and Dr. Steven Guanpeng Dong, Chair and Dean of Academy of Media and Public Affairs in Communication University of China. The three-day intensive seminar, Best Practices in Crisis Response, will be an opportunity for business, government, NGO, and other leaders in China to learn best practices from a global perspective, and to receive tools, techniques, and insights that can help them more effectively protect their institutions’ reputations and competitive position. All instruction and materials will be in both English and Chinese.

Students receive a Certificate of Completion jointly branded by Communication University of China and the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership.

More information about the workshop can be found here.