Controlling rumors

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Here are some ideas in helping with rumor control:

Evaluate the substance of the rumor. See if there is a plausible explanation. For example, is equipment taken out of service because it is being sold, or because it is broken?

Go to the source. When hearing a rumor, take it to your manager for confirmation rather than spreading to other associates. As a manager, encourage associates to bring you any rumors before spreading them. Phone calls to responsible parties may be in order to verify or debunk the information. For example, have rooms been reserved for special announcements, or for regular department meetings?

Ask for rumors at department meetings. The first agenda item on every department meeting should be the relating of any and all rumors. Again, this enables people to address them openly.

Continue to share all you know. The reason rumors grow faster than weeds is because they are filling empty spaces in peoples' imagination. Continuously reinforce the truth as you know it, and promise to address with your manager anything you might hear for either debunking or substantiation.

Help people focus on their jobs. Help associates understand that focusing efforts and time on collecting and spreading unsubstantiated rumors hurts themselves and the company.

Don't take every abnormality as a sign. Just because something was different (a meeting location changed, different people at the site, a harvest moon in the summer, whatever) does not mean a rumor is true. Help people see things as they are, versus reading dire consequences into innocent actions.

Learn to laugh. Learn to see, and help others see, that rumors are just that: rumors. Encourage associates to find the humor in what they hear.

In sumary, help those who focus on negative, dire rumors to ditch the rumors and focus on the things they can do something about!

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