Posts Tagged ‘crisis communications’

I found myself, earlier this week, in a bit of a funk.  Certainly not the kind of funk that’s gripped people who have lost homes and jobs; I’ve lost neither and consider myself incredibly lucky.  But I was in a bit of a funk about ever-tightening finances: worried about clash flow, about the incredibly shrinking nest egg, about the bills; worried about things I’ve promised to others, promises I don’t know if I can still fulfill. 

It took me a few days to get a grip.  There is so much news out there that continues to be so grim.  Finally, slowly, I seemed to be able to lift my head out of the muck and remind myself of my own strengths: I’ve always, forever, been an entrepreneur, and a recession is the best time to continue being (or to start being) an entrepreur.  There are generally projects available even if there aren’t full-time jobs available; and I’ve always wanted to combine projects and private consulting with teaching anyway.  There are lots of companies which would love personalized, customized training in crisis, or community relations, or social media.  So what’s my problem?  Probably just inertia.  Probably just a big sigh about starting yet again… but that’s how life is when you hang out your own shingle.  You always start again.  You can’t look at how tiring that might be; you have to view it as discovering opportunities out there.  You have to visualize the people who need you, and what it might take to get in touch with them so you can be of genuine service. 

I have a flyer about attitude here on my desk.  The last sentence reads, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  Yeah.  Why should any of us hide our light under a bushel?

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I’m tired of the climate of fear out there; and the fear that sometimes grips my own mind.  I know we’re in a down economy; I know it’s been devastating for any number of people.  I know many of us feel paralyzed about moving forward. But I keep coming back to what I’ve learned and have taught in crisis communications:  a crisis is an opportunity, and the only way to make it disappear is to lean into it and embrace it.  It’s incredibly difficult to deal with finances this year; to try and manage well; to cut back; to worry about jobs, about investments, about one’s home.  There’s no easy path through this.  But that’s just the point.  When things are this worrisome and this bad, we need to be looking for the opportunity in it; we need to think outside the box and see what else we can do.  A lot of my students are doing just that – they’re working out a Plan B, and I could hug each of them for being willing to take the risk.  We all need to be reinventing ourselves, both professionally and personally – but we can’t do a good job of it if we’re trapped in fear. 

Confrontation – being willing to see, to grasp, to acknowledge – is the first step.  After that, you need to “scan the environment,” to use a favorite public relations terms; you need to take stock, and really understand and analyze where you are.  Granted, that’s easy to say in theory, when in realitiy someone might have just lost both a job and a home.  But you still have something; you still have whatever talents, skills and abilities you had before the losses; you still have your drive, you still have yourself.  As Dana Reeve told her husband, Christopher Reeve, after the horseback riding accident which paralyzed him, “You’re still you.” 

And, as I tell my younger students, who feel they aren’t doing anything if they aren’t getting straight A’s, that’s not the point; the point is that they stay and add their voices to our human community.  It takes all voices to make a choir; we all need to sing, where we are, and however we are.  A cartoon in this morning’s paper had a bird saying, “I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”   Sometimes it takes great courage to still sing, and to hold on to hope.  But when all is lost, what else do you have?  Your voice, your faith, your hope;  and we move forward, all of us, because of it.

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One of the classes I’m teaching this term is about social media and public relations. It’s been quite a journey through cyberspace for all of us, and every so often I come across an article that really helps explain things well. I’ve posted one of those below. I think there’s a very short, brief answer you can give just about anyone wondering why they should get invovled in social media as part of a public relations program, and it’s this: Those conversations out there are taking place regardless of whether you’re present. Do you want others to tell your story, or do you want to tell it yourself? — I usually pose that question when I’m training people in crisis communications, but in this day and age of transparency and rapid-fire conversations online, I think the question is more relevant than ever.
Here’s the link, and happy reading!
Ten Common Objections to Social Media Adoption and How You Can Respond

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