Oh Tiger, Stifle thy Roar!

I can only think that Tiger Woods’ recent public apology must have been prescribed by his therapist, because I can’t believe that a professional public relations advisor would have recommended it.

When a body-language “expert” on NPR opined that Tiger Woods’ body language revealed his “insincerity” while apologizing for his infidelities at his recent “limited media attendance, no questions,” appearance, it confirmed my worst – and predicted fears.

If Tiger was so motivated to issue such an apology, I would have advised him to craft a brief statement for the media and his key constituents – using short, declarative sentences and not more than a VERY few of those.
And, bag any personal appearance.  (When it was revealed that Jesse Jackson fathered a child outside of his marriage, he issued just this kind of apology, and never said another public word about it. And the fact that you don’t remember this, proves my point.)

In a crises – which this surely has been for him – his better, no, best bet would have been this written statement, distributed equally to all, and, therefore, less subject to interpretations, less open to subjective opinion or observation (“he had a kind of smirk” or worse…!), less possible to imagine any “nuance” in his demeanor -– face, body, timbre, etc. Less possible, indeed, to edit commas or any other punctuation into – or out of – a straightforward, declarative statement.

Still, there are no guarantees when opening oneself to media scrutiny; they’ll kill ya’ if they can. Tough statements in writing is the crisis strategy most likely to prevent that from happening.