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the professional field of managing and improving how companies and individuals are perceived by the general public, especially addressing how to handle problems
* The vice-president of public relations is always looking for community events that our company can sponsor.
a relatively small mistake, especially when one has said something that is incorrect or offensive
* The presenter’s face turned bright red when he realized he had made a gaffe while speaking to the large audience.
a mistake or error; something that one has done incorrectly, especially causing embarrassment
* Her first blunder as CFO was when she tried to reduce costs by charging employees for their use of the company’s parking spaces.
a major problem that attracts a lot of negative attention and criticism
* The school found itself at the center of a firestorm after it tried to restrict which types of dresses girls could and couldn’t wear to the school dance.
to become out of control; for a problem to become so big or complex that one doesn’t have influence over the outcome
* Their son’s behavior is getting out of hand, so they’ve made an appointment with a child psychologist.
to get out of hand
a mistake; an error
* I apologize for that misstep. It won’t happen again.
a statement made to the general public to recognize that one has done something wrong and to express regret for it
* The politician made a public apology for having broken his campaign promises.
clearly and directly, without any hidden message
* If you speak plainly, people will be less likely to misunderstand you.
feeling bad or guilty about one’s words or actions, because one recognizes that they were wrong and one wishes one could have done things differently
* I’m sorry I broke your kitchen window. It was an accident.
to accept the consequences of one’s actions, without trying to blame someone else
* The restaurant served food that sickened many people, but the chef and the owner are refusing to take responsibility.
to take responsibility
the things one does to correct a problem, address the negative consequences and/or prevent it from happening again
* After passengers were stuck on a delayed plane for more than six hours, the airline took corrective actions to make sure that would never happen again.
to admit that one has done something wrong, without hiding any part of it
* After keeping the secret for years, it felt great to finally come clean and tell people the truth.
to come clean
to accept responsibility for something bad that has happened; to admit that one is guilty and responsible for the bad consequences of some problem
* A responsible CEO should always take the blame, even if it was one of his or her employees who made the mistake.
to take the blame
a pause or delay before doing something
* Did you hear the groom’s slight hesitation before he said, “I do”?
to have one’s words or actions create a difficult situation for oneself
* If Dan hadn’t lied to his wife, he never would have landed himself in this mess.
to land (oneself) in a mess
to improve one’s public image; to improve the way that other people perceive oneself, especially after creating a problem or being involved in a scandal
* After she was arrested, Peyton performed a lot of community service to try to salvage her reputation.
to salvage (one’s) reputation
to recover fully from a difficult situation, returning to the same good condition as before
* It took Blake just a few weeks to bounce back from the surgery.
to bounce back
a phrase used to emphasize that one was correct and another person was wrong
* I’m sorry you had to experience that, but I told you so. You should have listened to me.
I told you so