In 2021, communicators will need to get used to being held accountable, Reputation Doctor president Mike Paul tells Doug Simon in the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview.

“You have to be prepared for transparency on all things,” Paul says, noting that the idea of total transparency often makes leaders in the business and political arenas more than a little uncomfortable.

The way to get those leaders to rethink their habits, he says, is to show them “case studies, data and other reference points” that illustrate why change needs to happen now.

It takes being patient, letting clients openly express their opinions before you step in to outline the plans for any needed changes.

Paul also notes that the lack of direct one-to-one contact with clients has changed the game. “Sometimes you’re only prepping them before they’re going to be by themselves,” he says, “and then you’re doing a review as to how they can improve it for the future.”

The changes that Trump, COVID and the fight for racial equity have brought about for communicators are also addressed in the discussion.

A Biden administration, he tells Simon, is “not just going to be a room full of white guys.” And leaders need to make sure they’re on board with that. “You’d better understand and be comfortable with different people who speak different languages, who have different cultures, who are rich, poor, middle class, female, black.”

Paul adds that current status of DEI initiatives is often not adequate. “When I see a diversity, equity and inclusion position,” he says, “people get upset with me when I say that position shouldn’t exist. You already have a global head of HR.” Instead, he tells Simon, employers really have to be held accountable for how many people of color get a seat at the table.

View all of the interviews in the “PR's Top Pros Talk” series. Subscribe to get notified when new episodes are available.

Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.