Quite possibly the hardest thing to deal with in a crisis situation is yourself. Learning how to keep control of your emotions seems simple and mindless. However, when you are sitting in the hot seat, your mind races, you start to sweat, and all of a sudden you’re not acting like yourself. So how do you keep your cool, and avoid barging through ethical boundaries in the heat of the moment?
When under pressure there are two attitudes you can adapt. The first is to let it fully encompass you, to let your reaction become your driving force. The second, and most rewarding option, is to simply take a breather. Take a step back, and learn that everything can be accomplished with a little prioritizing, and strategic thinking.
Remember that you are a professional. You are in a position that comes along with hefty expectations, and the best thing that you can do is be prepared. Running through potential situations and creating an individual crisis response plan for each of them is highly effective. Being unprepared for a crisis is not an excuse in this fast-paced world, where critical thinking is of the essence.
The standards of behavior that you set for yourself should transcend situations. How you handle yourself in a crisis should be no different than how you portray yourself on a daily basis. In being prepared, you are likely to remain composed and better able to handle any given situation.
As a public relations professional, you must be an effective communicator. What comes along with being an effective communicator is the ability to develop key messages. When a crisis strikes, before talking to any media outlets or outside sources, you must come up with three key messages. This approach is extremely effective because it will stop you from rambling and looking disorganized in your response.
At the end of the day, when you get home and just want to vent, remember that the last place to do your venting should be social media. A true professional knows the rules of confidentiality and that work should stay at work, and not be left out to dry like dirty laundry.
Being prepared to deal with a crisis and remembering to remain professional and ethical through the storm can make a huge difference.