Written by Ashley Carter, social media director for Allen Hall Public Relations and account executive for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art team
Halloween is this weekend and you know what that means: it’s about to get spooky.
During our firm meeting this week, we had the opportunity to hear from Jason Davis, public information officer for Lane County Health and Human Services. Before working with Lane County, Jason Davis was a crisis communications expert in NYC.
Crisis communications is an area of public relations that can get spooky. When you are working in crisis communications, everything you say and do matters. We received some great advice from Jason and we are going to share it with you.
- “Crisis is the tipping point when something must be done.” As soon as the crisis occurs, you need to be ready to act. The best way to do this? Have a crisis communications plan in place before your company or client needs it. Whether or not you have a plan in place, the first thing you should do in a crisis situation is…
- Gain knowledge of the situation. The best thing you can do when crisis strikes is to become informed. Learn every piece of information about the situation, even information that might seem unimportant. You need to know this situation inside and out, backward and forward. Only once you have a complete understanding of the situation can you begin to repair it.
- “Crisis communications taxes every element of who you are as a human being.” Basically, it’s not easy! The job is incredibly stressful and requires quick thinking that is informed and coherent. You have to be confident in your crisis communications skills, because every moment could be a critical turning point for your company or client. This requires hard work and constant strategic thinking.
- As a crisis communicator, you have tremendous influence on the future of your company. After the crisis has subsided, you have the opportunity to give advice to your company or client. What could they do to prevent this again? How are their customers going to respond to their products moving forward? At this point, you are able to improve your company or client’s products and services.This is your opportunity to make a positive change and leave a lasting impact.
Public relations can be scary, unless you know how to handle it. Having a grasp of crisis communications can prepare you for any situation, no matter how big or small.
Ashley Carter is a senior public relations student at the University of Oregon. She is currently the social media director and account executive for Allen Hall Public Relations and a communications intern with Levi Strauss. After graduation, Ashley hopes to pursue a career in investor relations. Connect with her on Twitter.
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Featured image via Unsplash.