By Greg Williams
“How To Stop Cyberbullying From Hurting Your Business”
“Cyberbullying is an act that can make the weak feel stronger and the strong feel weaker.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body language Expert
In our connected world, cyberbullying can greatly affect businesses. And the types of cyberbullying that can occur, such as bad reviews, false claims and trolling/harassment can occur for reasons of retribution or corporate positioning for a negotiation. Why these attacks occur and how to confront them is the point of this article.
Cyberbullying – Cause, Why:
Bullies tend to target those that they sense as being weaker than themselves. The same is true in corporate environments. The exception being, smaller corporations may target larger organizations to rip at that company’s heart. They may do so to troll its soul, its sole purpose for being in business.
In face to face environments, extenuating factors (e.g. size of the potential target, potential allies, etc.) can dissuade a bully from pursuing his target. In corporations, with the veneer of cover to cloak dastardly deeds, attacks can come from any direction and from any source. When cyberbullying occurs within the realm of business, the cost can be born in lost revenue, a decrease in employee morale, and a downtick in a company’s persona and prestige.
Prior to a negotiation (you’re always negotiating), cyberbullying can be a tactic employed by a smaller business to whittle-down its larger opponent. It can be an effort engaged in to give the smaller entity leverage. This can occur by anonymously placing false stories about the larger entity in social media outlets, or having its allies serve as its proxies. In the latter case, such actions can give the appearance of the larger corporation coming under siege from multiple points and sources.
Managers of larger organizations are very vigilant about social media postings because they’re aware of the impact that it can have on their business. They realize how vulnerable they can be. Thus, they take preventive actions to ward off attacks. When one occurs, they muster their resources to squelch the attack and sometimes the attacker.
In addition, depending on the degree and leverage held by a cyberbully, corporations can be susceptible to cyber blackmail. We’ve seen the latter occur when a cyber hacker steals files and/or locks a company out of their system. That’s another form of cyberbullying that leaves corporations in a precarious position. Regardless of your organization’s size, what are you doing to protect it from cyberbullying?
Cyber Bullying Example and Handling:
A business associate that owns an eatery recalled a time when several professional men came into his establishment. The men were inebriated, boisterous, and rude to some of the other customers and my associate’s staff.
My associate did not want to address his tawdry guests by calling the police; he didn’t want things to get out of hand. So, he informed the rowdy patrons that his in-store security camera was filming their actions. He told them if they didn’t adopt a mannerable demeanor he’d have to release the video on social media. While he wasn’t threatening them with cyberbullying, he was implying the veiled threat of ‘outing the men’ in cyber space if they didn’t alter their behavior. The men apologized to everyone in the establishment and no further action was required.
Even though my associate had a small business, the tactic of using the threat of employing social media to combat bullying was the strategy that backed down his offenders. Have plans in place that you can implement at a moment’s notice to thwart threats. The better prepared you are, the faster you can respond to those threats.
Cyberbullying Prevention, Combating, Overcoming:
As a business owner, to combat cyberbullying …
- Be proactive on social media platforms and garner as many positive comments as possible about your establishment. Then, if another organization attempts to bully your business, they’ll stand out as an outlier in comparison to the glowing comments you’ve already received.
- Have business allies and customers ready to post rebuttal comments to support your organization against a bully. In extreme cases, have your allies note the efforts that a cyberbully has attempted to perpetrate in other environments; have them attack the bully on social media if necessary. Respond in a strong and swift manner to let the bully know that there’s a high price to pay for messing with your business. Remember, bullies tend to pick on easy targets. To combat a bully successfully, don’t make your business an easy target. Make the bully’s efforts not worth the retribution he incurs.
- In a brick-and-mortar business, have a camera system that captures in real-time the actions that someone might engage in to project bullying tactics in your establishment. Their in-person actions could be the prelude to cyberbullying. Being proactive with a video account of their in-person actions will allow others to see your side of the story from a more positive perspective.
If your business engages in cyberbullying, always be mindful that you’re always negotiating (i.e. what you do today impacts tomorrow’s opportunities or lack of). As such, when it comes to cyberbullying, what you do to others can come back to harm you and your business. And it might do so at the most inopportune time.
Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Please refer to me as such)
Greg is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and TV personality that appears in the news and on programs to discuss the finer points of negotiations. He consults, trains, and speaks in seminar environments to lend his more than 3 decades of negotiation knowledge to attendees. He enhances their negotiation abilities by giving them insights into reading body language.
Greg has written seven books on the topics of negotiation and reading body language. His latest two books are, “Negotiating With A Bully (pub date June ’18)” and “Body Language Secrets To Win More Negotiations (pub date Sept. ’16)”.
Greg Williams | The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert | The Master Negotiator | https://www.TheMasterNegotiator.com