In a PR crisis? Don’t forget to breathe..

There’s lots of crisis communications advice out there for PRs dealing with a disaster. And most of it’s useful info; underestimate it at your peril.

For instance, before a crisis we’re told it’s vital to regularly rehearse the worst case scenario. Well, you really do need to do that. Then when you’re in a crisis, we’re always told to ‘fill the communication void before others fill it for you’. True to form that’s correct as well.

I’ve dealt with several crises over the years. Armed with plenty of know-how, regularly-updated info from on the scene (it’s impossible to stress just how important that is), a great team around you and a can-do approach, it’s possible to survive and thrive in even the most challenging circumstances.

There’s one additional recommendation I’d make to the tried and tested advice…which is that you need to find time to breathe. And specifically you have to give yourself space to make sure you’ve covered off that tried and tested advice. When you’re dealing with a large number of press enquiries – plus keeping on top of the resulting media coverage and correcting any inaccuracies – it can be a relentless, all-encompassing exercise. Find time, even if it’s just 30 minutes, to clear your head and check your checklist.

And of course, that’s where a good crisis PR agency can help. We can give you headspace, as well as making sure you’ve thought of everything, when you’re being constantly distracted by events elsewhere.

During the most recent crisis I managed, when the time was right I moved away from my desk, from the calls, from the emails, from the noise, for a relatively short period. Almost everything was in place but I realised we were missing a trick. Sure enough, within a short space of time, lots of other people similarly realised we were missing the same trick. But by that time I’d made a suggestion, the solution was imminent, and we were back on track without missing a beat.

Even in the most testing times we all need to see the wood for the trees. So don’t forget to breathe.