Staying Calm in a Crisis

10/03/2013

It’s easier said than done in a crisis. But when an unwanted media storm breaks over you, keeping a level head is the most important thing of all. Seeing negative headlines about an organisation or project you believe in can be hard to take. In such circumstances, it’s natural to be upset. But being driven by emotion usually makes the problem worse.

Emotion leads to mistakes. It can mean an over-hasty response, intemperate language and the risk of a slanging match – rather than focusing on positives which will start to counter any reputational damage.

Two different clients have just turned to Arch Communications for help, after becoming the focus of difficult media attention. Our job is to ensure a rational approach, to encourage them to pause and take stock before doing anything rash. Only then can we build a plan to put things right.

The correct approach involves confidently challenging what is not true, using the right messages in a consistent way, and responding with patience and courtesy – no matter how galling the adverse media attention may be.

This is because the conversation is not just with the individual journalist, or even with the group of agitators who may be generating the bad publicity. The primary audience are the consumers of the media, the public, who are more likely to be alienated by angry words than won over by them.

Losing your cool can lead to a lost reputation.