Down in flames

Known as a loose cannon, RyanAir CEO does himself and his company far more harm than good during live Twitter chat

So discouraged are speechwriters by executives who refuse to reveal their humanity … we forget that there's something worse than conservatism in corporate communication: and that's tone-deaf recklessness.

The latest case in point is RyanAir CEO Michael O'Leary, known for being combative and borderline bizarre, set a new CEO standard for both today during a live Twitter Q&A designed to defuse questions recent fare hikes.

He began by making fun of a woman commenter's appearance, he continued by threatening to fire an employee "slacker" who Tweeted about the Q&A, and he  concluded by failing to answer one question: "Will you be looking for a new social media manager tomorrow?"

There was a lot of corporate communication carnage in between.

Reader, I won't say "don't let this happen to you," because you won't. But do read the whole sorry story, because it's full of cautionary tales for executive communicators who are thinking about live interaction, via Twitter or any other medium.

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