As a public relations practitioner, it is likely that you will face a crisis during your career at least once. Whether that crisis be big or small, it is extremely important for you to understand how to handle these situations. It is important to remain calm, know the facts, keep the media in the loop and have a plan ready to go in the event of a crisis.
Do not panic
Obviously, the word crisis itself instills some type of fear in us. It is extremely important to remain calm during a crisis of any kind. Whether it be a scandal, a fire or a data breach; it is crucial as the PR practitioner to remain cool, calm and collected. If you are panicked, it will convey to the media that you do not have things under control.
Do not spew information
Unless the information that is about to leave your lips is a fact, do not say it. You cannot tell the media “the situation is under control” or “it is being handled” if you have no idea if it is. Refer the media to others who may know the information (i.e. police, fire department, etc.).
Do not assume other roles
Remember that you have one job – media relations. Your job is to talk to the media, not to find out who was injured, what information was leaked, etc. It is your job to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization while they are facing a challenge.
Do not be unprepared
As a PR practitioner, it is crucial that you are PRepared for anything that could come your way. Although you may not be anticipating a crisis, it could strike at any minute and you need to be ready for it. Make sure your team has a crisis management plan set up just in case. This plan should include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Crisis management team
- Established roles of team members
- Guidelines as how to communicate internal and external stakeholders
- How to handle the media – who is designated to represent the organization?
- Possible travel arrangements, if necessary
This blog post was written by PRowl Account Associate Kate Yeager.