Friday, October 18, 2013

Speaking and Acting with Compassion

One of the reasons that organizations and individuals have a difficult time speaking and behaving compassionately is that they have little, if any, guidance, experience or tools in this area.

The easiest approach to speaking compassionately and behaving compassionately is to develop a lexicon of language which helps achieve compassionate objectives.

When compassion is required and the organization is unprepared, while the victims, the survivors, employees and other stakeholders are waiting to hear compassionate language and see compassionate actions, management gets into its “bunker” mentality, retreats and refuses to do anything until they see a clear path forward.

Here is a lexicon of compassion that you might find helpful as you think about those circumstances where this emotional response is appropriate, necessary and sometimes critical.

The Lexicon of Compassion 

  • Alarmed 
  • Appalled 
  • Ashamed 
  • Concerned 
  • Devastated 
  • Disappointed 
  • Disheartened 
  • Embarrassed 
  • Failed 
  • Humiliated 
  • “Let you down” 
  • Mortified 
  • Regret 
  • Sad 
  • Shocked 
  • Sorrowful 
  • Sympathetic 
  • Tragic 
  • Unfortunate 
  • Unhappy 
  • Unintentional 
  • Unnecessary 
  • Unsatisfactory 

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is the author of Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management, available now at

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Beverly Payton said...

Amen, Jim. It seems too many corporate CEOs act as if they're terrified to use more than half of the words on this list. They need to understand that the synthetic emotings of corporate speak are completely out of place during crisis--especially one that involves human loss and suffering. That's the time to feel and act like a human being and truly empathize with those who've been hurt, find a way to alleviate their suffering and prevent the same crisis from ever happening again. Do the right thing and the PR will take care of itself.

October 19, 2013 at 2:32 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

The Lukaszewski Group 550 Main Street, Suite 100, New Brighton, MN 55112 U.S.A.
651.286.6788-Office 651.631.2561-Facsimile 203.948.7029-24/7
Carin M. Leonard-Gorrill, Executive Assistant Office 651-286-6729

Copyright ©, James E. Lukaszewski. All rights reserved.
Permission to print one copy for personal use is hereby granted by the copyright holder.
Reproduction of additional copies without written permission of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited.