February 22, 2007 by Colin
Have you noticed that public relations and marketing specialists tend to let criticism run off their backs like water off a duck? One psychologist, Karl Weick, has an explanation:
“…Generalists, people with moderately strong attachments to many ideas, should be hard to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have weaker, shorter negative negative reactions since they have alternative paths to realize their plans. Specialists, people with stronger attachments to fewer ideas, should be easier to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have stronger,more sustained negative reactions because they have fewer alternative pathways to realize their plans. Generalists should be the upbeat, positive people in the profession while specialists should be their grouchy, negative counterparts.
Wow. That pretty much describes almost every interaction I’ve had with an engineer, economist or regulatory specialist. Haven’t you found it hard to prepare comms materials that are both understandable to the general public and acceptable to a technical specialist?
Quote singled out by Bob Sutton.