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What BP Should Have Said

Poor crisis communications actually has the power to make a crisis worse.

In BP’s case, such demeaning, condescending, and anger-invoking phrases from the CEO as “I don’t know; I wasn’t there,” and such smoke-screen attempts as “I’m not a drilling engineer or technically qualified engineer in these matters,” “I’m not a cement engineer,” and “I’m not an oceanographic scientist” heaped scorn and ridicule upon a once-admired company. Whom did Hayward think he was fooling? Those frustrating, anger-provoking, lawyer-like, admit-nothing responses were an insult to BP’s public, its shareholders, the government, and, most especially, everyone who was affected by the spill. People had every reason to be infuriated with a company ...

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