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You just landed that big media opportunity: In approximately 30 minutes, your client’s spokesperson will appear live on national television. And when you think nothing can go wrong, you get the call … Your spokesperson’s car broke down on the way to the studio. Now what?
During the summer, afternoon storms sweep in suddenly. Likewise, far too often throughout the year, unanticipated “PR storms” arise in the form of logistical issues and last-minute “emergencies.”
So what do you do when you’re a half hour out from a live broadcast interview and the spokesperson calls in with car trouble? You take a breath, analyze the situation and start thinking through your options. Understanding how to effectively handle the stress and confusion can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful PR career. Here are several tips to consider the next time your team is hit with an unexpected storm:
Always have a “Plan B.” Things change frequently and rapidly in PR and marketing. It’s a good idea to go into a situation anticipating “the worst that can happen” and prepare accordingly. In the case of our spokesperson with the car troubles, have a backup available. To respond to a last-minute emergency – say, in the form of a major cybersecurity attack which is dominating the current news cycle – create a list of go-to contacts who are easily accessible and can speak to media (now).
Don’t freak out. Much like when a storm interrupts your plans, it’s important to stay calm. Panic only adds to the chaos. Remaining cool-headed allows you to think clearly and execute the aforementioned “Plan B.”
Communicate. Communication capabilities prove critical in managing any crisis. Keep an open line of communications among all parties involved (your team members, spokespeople, members of the media, etc.) to alleviate stress and drive to a solution. At the end of the day, it’s likely that everyone else is trying to solve the problem as well, so staying on the same page is key.
At W2 Communications, we help our clients prepare for and survive the inevitable storms that come crashing down day-to-day. If you’d like to find out more about these and additional services we offer, then please contact us.
Mike Atkinson is an Account Executive at W2 Communications.