Speaking from Elected Authority

One of the biggest mistakes which elected leaders, especially municipal leaders, make in their communications strategy is failing to maintain an air of authority.

In my article on Crisis and Campaigns in the Age of Social Media, I explain the danger of getting down into the comments and arguing with your detractors. Social media is a very democratizing space. Everyone sounds equally credible in a discussion in the comments. This is good if you are an average person trying to break into the conversation, but it is very bad if you are a person of actual authority seeking to share the truth of the situation with your audience.

In my article, I discuss the concept of The Mayor, a fictional character found in many movies. The dapper, well dressed city leader who rules his city with high minded speeches from behind a large wooden desk.

The image of a mayor behind the desk.
This is the image of a mayor, in this case Jim Kenney as featured in The Business Journals. Arguing in the comments in inconsistent with this image. As a municipal leader, you should create this image in the minds of your constituents.

The Mayor sits behinds the desk. The Mayor gives eloquent speeches. The Mayor writes a column.

The Mayor DOES NOT scrap in the comments

Perhaps you are not able to draw large crowds to your speeches like the Mayor of Gotham City, but there are other ways to speak from authority. The easiest is a blog. You can either have a blog on the official municipal site, or, if there are regulations that make that complicated, you can create a blog on Blogger or WordPress.

Articles on an official blog have an authority that comments or even social media posts do not. They can be referred to as reference material. You are an authority, and you must communicate like one.

As an elected official, an article you write would even count as a valid source for Wikipedia!

In the event of a crisis communications situation, it is absolutely vital to have a proper platform from which to share your message. Having such a platform can prevent a crisis as well. Nature abhors a vacuum, and that is doubly true for information.

As an issue develops, people will find information somewhere. More often than not, when the public accepts erroneous information in a local issue it is not because they don’t trust authority. It is because the authority has not made the correct information easy to find.

People want the truth. They just don’t want to work very hard to find it. Make it easy for them, and make it easy for you. Share the facts from an official, central platform where you can control your message and share accurate information.


Do you need help connecting with constituents or crafting a message to ensure that truth wins out over misinformation? We can help. Contact us!

4 thoughts on “Speaking from Elected Authority

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.