Recently, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte finds himself in the center of controversy (again!) because of his remarks, seemingly implying that it’s okay for corrupt journalist to be killed, and the issue of him whistling at a female reporter during a live press conference, and later defending it as “freedom of expression.”
This blog isn’t about the ethics of the President’s remarks or actions. I leave that up to the pundits and political analysts.
My topic is more about basic communication principles.
During the same press conference, President Duterte mentioned a lot of good and important things, which I can argue is more worthy of space and conversation, than the above mentioned ones. Among them:
- A promise of a clean government with zero tolerance for corruption. (“I will be harsh with corruption’’- Pres RRD).
- Getting rid of bureaucracy and red tape in government.
- Faster Internet service, or else opening up the Telco industry to foreign players/competitors. (I’m actually surprised this wasn’t the headline at all)
- Reiterating his campaign promise to substantially suppress, if not totally eradicate, illegal drugs in our country within 3-6 months.
- Pushing through with the 2k pension hike for Senior Citizens for their SSS contribution.
- Naming some more new members of his incoming Cabinet.
But none of them made the headlines, much less talked about the next day in newspapers or news reports.
The reason is obvious: Controversy always takes center stage!
You can almost say Duterte’s other important remarks were “lost in translation.’’
I am a Communicator by choice and calling. I live, eat, and breathe communication.
I know it’s easy to grab attention if I want to- simply say something controversial!
The only problem with that approach is that nobody else will listen to the “rest of your story.’’
That’s why I’m very careful to stay away from controversy.
This has nothing to do with being a coward.
I can be bold if there is a need to do so.
But I can always say it in a way that can be compelling without being controversial.
Communication is more than just grabbing attention. It is having something worthwhile to say in the first place. If not, then why bother opening our mouths at all?
And if it’s worthwhile, shouldn’t we choose our words carefully also?
Our words matter. There is no such thig as “it’s only words.’’ Words are a window into our soul, and according to the Bible, a revealer of our character.
They are too important to be left to controversy.