One was prompted to recall this advice when reading a question posed in some media outlets not long ago. It read: Is Nigella winning the PR battle Stateside?
A more apt question might have been: Has Nigella won the PR battle…full stop?
There is very good evidence to suggest that she has.
Throughout her trials and tribulations (though not her trial, it should be noted) the famed TV personality maintained a dignified silence, despite the accusations and abuse that were hurled in her direction.
We believe that that approach has stood her in good stead.
Here in Ireland, the war of words that waged around the Limerick City of Culture debacle was another example of a controversy around which the ‘silence is golden’ advice might have been better observed.
In interview after interview, the public was served a diet of statements, claims and counter-claims across a host of issues relating to appointments, resignations, budget allocations and so forth as key figures got sucked into an uncontrolled, unregulated, undignified brouhaha in their rush to retain credibility and protect reputation.
This unedifying spectacle, of which Limerick itself was the innocent and unfortunate victim, was one that did serious damage to the project whilst failing to protect the egos and safeguard the reputations of those who thought – and may have been advised – to engage in what they believed was the right thing to do.
It was a controversy that presented yet another reminder of how a PR objective could be served by keeping one’s head down and one’s mouth firmly closed. And, if one cannot do that, then perhaps it would be better to confine oneself to the written statement.