Archive for the ‘Media Training’ Category

Don’t fear the darkside!

June 20, 2017

Fear of the darkside

As 2017 dawned, I found myself jobless.

This was ironic, considering I managed to hold onto a full time job throughout the recession, only to be made redundant as our economy turned the corner.

Instead of accepting one of the cool, interesting, and maybe most salient at the time, PAID opportunities that I was presented with in the immediate aftermath of my redundancy, I decided on the far riskier move, and take a career break.

After an enjoyable, rewarding but ultimately all-consuming role as Southern Correspondent with UTV Ireland, I was exhausted. I needed time to take stock, and re-charge before I set off on my next adventure.

Surprisingly, to myself more than anyone else, I absolutely loved my time-out.

I revelled in my free time, I read great books that had nothing to do with my profession. I allowed my mind to wander as I filled the black and white pages of my colouring book with doodles. I had some great conversations with great people including friends I long neglected as I chased story after story.

By April, I came around to the idea of hopping back on the 9-5 train…..Journalism no longer had the same draw. So I decided to do a stocktake of the skills I had accumulated, and evaluate how many of these were transferrable.

If you stick to one career path for too long, you can easily assume that your skillset isn’t particularly unique……or sought after. Taking a step out of the rat-race helped me understand that a career in journalism had allowed me to build a valuable list of transferable skills, not to mention an enviable contacts book.

When an opportunity to become part of the team at Fuzion Communications presented itself, thanks to my time-out, I felt ready and able to accept. I could see how I could, with my journalistic perspective, fit into and learn from a very talented and hard-working team.

It’s still early days, but I’m loving the role, a role that I wouldn’t have the skills for if I hadn’t spent so many years chasing stories!

My advice, for what it’s worth, if a career change or redundancy (or a desperate need for a change) looms on your horizon, don’t fear it.

Evaluate your talents and skills, and embrace your next adventure.

Alison Nulty, Fuzion CommunicationsAlison Nulty

Alison Nulty is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Take AIM at your audience and make them like you

May 24, 2017

LikeableToday I am going to talk about likeability.

It’s something you should strive for when you’re presenting in a business setting. Practically every business communication event involves selling something. If not directly a product or service, then at the very least, a point of view.

You are likely hoping to persuade your audience of something or trying to motivate them to do something, aren’t you? Therefore, finding a way to demonstrate that you care about the people with you in the room when you present is precisely the way to encourage them to care for you and your position.

Last week, when I emceed the Irish Centre for Business Excellence conference, keynote speaker, psychologist, and author, Owen Fitzpatrick, reinforced this idea as he explained how influence is best achieved when you spend time asking questions of and taking an interest in the other person first.

In short, we teach people how we want to be treated.

For many, this “be likeable” notion might not come naturally. Instead, we focus on our proof points and logic to carry us through. Sorry, folks, because I do want you to like me but, blech – that is often super boring.

But knowing some need a structure to dial up on “likeable”, I teach my clients to apply a logic-based methodology.

Derived from communications lecturer JD Schramm of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, this approach helps you get systematic in your presentation preparation – especially if you’re not naturally inclined to consider others.

Gina London - Fuzion Communications

The methodology is boiled down to three simple letters: AIM.

Audience. Intent. Message. In that order.

1 Audience

Take a moment to consider who is in your audience.

Are they new-hires or veterans? Senior management or the executive board? Women or men? Both? Other? Do they prefer Elvis or the Beatles? PCs or Macs? Coffee or Tea? For my Irish audience, Barry’s or Lyons?

When CNN first promoted me to anchor, they sent me to an anchor-training school in Dallas, Texas.

I didn’t realise there was such a place. There is. One thing the trainer told me back then in Texas particularly stuck with me.

He said that no matter how dry or dense a story may seem, someone out there watching will be emotionally affected by it.

Every story has a ‘hope, dream or fear’ attached to it,” he said. It’s important to try to see the pictures inside their heads.

I sometimes ask clients to write their presentation agenda.

Next, write a second agenda from the audience’s point of view. Then I have them throw out that first agenda and begin again from the second one.

This is what I mean by truly considering the others’ points of view.

2 Intent

Your intent is never simply to inform.

If you’re just doing that, then you might as well simply put your information in an email and hit the send button. You must be trying to motivate or inspire your audience to some sort of action.

Define your goal very clearly. Too often I see this one overlooked.

The goal is too broad and ill-defined. What is it exactly that you want your audience to do after you’re finished speaking? Even if it’s just to agree to another meeting. That’s okay. Be very specific.

3 Message

Only after you have dealt with points one and two should you move on to craft your message. Like intent, this must be clear too. Write it down. One sentence!

Here’s the definition I learned from organising campaigns:

A message is “Brief, Memorable, Repeatable, Emotional and Data-backed“.

But it’s not only the data. While supportive, taken stand-alone, data dumps, as I already mentioned, are often dry and boring.

Your message is your ‘call to action‘ – your spoken declaration of your written intent, your motivation!

State it clearly and state it often. Don’t assume your audience is just “getting it“.

If you know your AIM, before you start writing, you will be better at framing and outlining your talk.

A client wrote to me just this week proclaiming that he now realises “this isn’t going to be an easy fix. It will take serious effort“.

He’s right!

Here’s a prime example from one of the readers of my column:

The 82-year-old writer shared that he learned how “to think and speak more clearly” through communications training.

He applies the training all the time, including just last Saturday when he said a few words at his 80-year-old sister’s birthday party in London. “Communications training has become a way of life.“, he wrote.

To my client and you lovely people reading today: Exactly.

Applying AIM and becoming deliberately more likeable to your audience will take time. But I promise, it is worth it.

From presentations, to one-on-one scenarios, from spoken to written if you have a question about communications that you would like me to deal with in my column in the Sunday Independent please send me an email at gina@fuzion.ie .

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina London

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a Strategic Communications director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, emcee and corporate consultant. @TheGinaLondon

Gina London: Become a more deliberate communicator

May 2, 2017

Today I ask this question: What three adjectives do others likely use to describe you?

I often have my clients first write down how they would like to be described and then square that up against how they imagine they currently fare.

That’s the challenge today in my “The Communicator” column in the Your Work section of the Sunday Independent.

360 feedbackIf you’ve ever had a 360 report done on you, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t, reach out to me or your employer to get one. It’s kind of like President Trump’s 100 Days gauge, without hitting the front pages. Reality. Check!

What we think about ourselves is less important that how we’re perceived by others.

It’s helpful to identify what traits or behaviours of ours may be holding us back.

It’s also important to not get defensive, but to get determined once you identify it.

Don’t cop out with the old, “Well, that’s just how I am” excuse. Instead, to use this expression I’ve learned since moving here to Ireland, “Cop on!

It’s a lot like when my mom used to make me sit down at the piano in our dining room and practice every day for an hour. She would set the clock on the stove and I wasn’t to get up from the bench until the buzzer rang. Except sometimes, like the cheeky eight-year-old I was when I first started taking lessons, I would sneak over to the stove and move the alarm forward a few minutes to hurry it along.

Naturally, my mom had no idea that somehow in our home, the passage of time was magically accelerated. Ha!

But, like learning to play the piano, you also can practice taking incremental steps toward changing your behaviour as I discuss in today’s column.

Experts agree leaders are made not born. So now that you’ve been born, let’s get together to make you better!

If you have an A. B. C. (Appearance, Behaviour or Communication) question for me – please write to me here (gina@fuzion.ie) or in care of the Sunday Independent and I’ll try to answer it in an upcoming column!

That’s your first homework challenge – make it a great week!

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist, now Strategic Communications Director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, MC and corporate consultant.

Gina London: Your posture and smile are key

May 1, 2017

Presenting

Mae West is quoted as once saying, “I speak two languages. Body and English.”

As a communications consultant, I work with executives and organisations on improving all facets of communications. Body language is a key component of that equation.

Recently I worked with a director at the Ireland office of a large multinational. The organisation’s annual sales conference was coming up and she was preparing her presentation.

Together, we watched a video of her in action previously. Or not in action.

During this presentation, although she clearly had command of the topic and delivered her words smoothly, we agreed she did not connect with her audience.

The video cut out towards the audience and showed their reaction – or lack of it. Most of the people were sitting passively with their arms crossed. Not at all engaged.

While my client delivered powerful and emotionally-charged words, her body didn’t match them.

Her posture behind the podium was rigid, her face devoid of emotion.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you naturally communicate well in presentations.

If you don’t believe this, have someone record you speaking at your next meeting, then watch it – with and without sound.

You’ll learn a lot about yourself because we generally don’t acknowledge how much of our communication is done through expression, gesture and posture.

Here are a few things you can try:

1 Power up your posture

Many people in pressure situations hide behind the podium and hold on to it for dear life.

If there’s no podium, nervousness may cause them to rock on one foot or shift their weight from side to side.

It can be very distracting. If they come out from behind the podium, they may race back and forth. Stage presence is executive presence.

I encourage my clients to ‘plant‘. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, plant your feet solidly and distribute your weight evenly. Feel comfortable.

Now deliver your introduction in strength and poise while standing still. If you want to address another part of the room, try turning your body from the waist.

Lean forward and stretch out your arms to make a point. If you do move, do it purposefully and please stop for a bit before you about-turn.

Staging is challenging for many people who either stand like statues with moving lips or run like frightened deer.

2 Use your eyes to make contact – and more

A client of a large telecommunications company once told me that a former coach advised him to look slightly above the heads of an audience during a presentation. No way!

Acknowledge the humans in the room. If you see someone out there you didn’t know was attending, say hello to them. Make the event personal.

I sometimes place large photos of people’s faces showing various degrees of boredom (like most business audiences, unfortunately), in empty chairs around a room for a client to practice looking at them.

I can always tell if my clients really look if they notice that among the face photos is one of Marilyn Monroe and another of Elvis Presley.

Another way to engage your audience with your eyes is by changing their shape – your eyes, not the audience.

We do this naturally when we’re speaking with friends. If something is compelling, we may narrow our eyes. With something surprising, or exciting, our eyes become wider and our eyebrows go up.

Don’t turn off those lovely windows to your soul when you speak before a business crowd. Your product or service should be exciting too.

3 Broaden your smile

My client who watched her past video with me was really struck by how unhappy her face looked. Imagine what the audience felt. No wonder they didn’t laugh at her jokes.

For most of you out there, smile more than you think you possibly can, and you’ll probably be about halfway there. And, guess what? Even if you don’t feel happy, smiling makes your endorphins kick in so it will help relax you and make you feel more at ease when you present.

Oh, and before any of you comment that my column photo “screams negativity” as a friend of mine, who’s a dentist, not a communications expert, wrote to me, please let me add that the study of body language, or kinesics, emphasises three Cs. Pay attention to Clusters, Context and Consistency to help you better gauge others’ intentions and help you become more engaging to those others.

Arms crossed doesn’t always mean defensive.

So, for your next presentation, remember, your body is not just a vehicle to move your head from room to room.

Start practising now in those inconsequential situations – and then you’ll be geared up for the next big communications crunch.

Your audience, minus Marilyn and Elvis, will take notice and thank you.

Gina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist, now Strategic Communications Director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as media commentator, MC and corporate consultant.

This column is part of ‘The Communicator’ series that Gina writes for the Sunday Independent

 

The importance of remembering people’s names

April 12, 2017

Remembering names

Early on in my professional career, I learned how important it is to get names right and here I will give you my simple tips to help you get them right too.

My first job in Washington was on Capitol Hill in a Congressional office. The Chief of Staff’s first name was Christopher.

It’s Christopher. Not Chris,” he corrected me after I erroneously referred to him in the more casual manner.

Christopher wasn’t being fussy. He simply preferred his name how he preferred it. We went on to have a very solid working relationship. I always respected him for reminding me. Nothing wrong with that.

Our names are possibly the most important part of our identity.  

Later on, when I began working in television news in Washington at WTTG, I carefully made it a part of my job to learn and remember the names of everyone I met. I even made a little spreadsheet – listing names, positions and something cool or interesting about each person.

One day, about a couple of months in, I passed a producer in the editing hall whom I had probably met only once or twice before. “Hey, Mark,” I tossed out as I walked by. I won’t tell you his last name, but the cool thing I had listed was his ponytail. Very un-Washington-like!

Hey,” he turned, “You’re new, right? You clearly make an effort to remember names.

He went on to leave WTTG to become the producer for The McLaughlin Group, one of the best-known and longest-running current affairs panelist talk shows in US television.

I never forgot Mark. Or Christopher and to this day, I try not to forget names.

Last week, I traveled to Shannon to work with a group of directors from an aviation company. One of the directors’ first names was “Iarlaithe.” I have learned plenty of great new names here in Ireland, but this was a new one for me.

You probably haven’t heard my name,” Iarlaithe said to me. “It’s unusual.”

Yes, it is. It even says so when you Google it.

An unusual Irish name that means ‘earl’ or ‘tributary lord,’” reads the citation.  The name is also Irish for the St. Jarlarth, who, research shows, was noted for his piety and his teaching ability as he founded a school in County Galway.

The current Iarlaithe I met last week is known to me for his ability with numbers and that he likes his curry very hot!

I find the more I focus taking a genuine interest in people and their personalities and stories that surround them, the more I will remember the names that go with them.

I’m not perfect, mind you. Last summer, when I spoke at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Conference, I tried to show-off and go around the large ballroom and name everyone to whom I had been introduced. I got 99 percent – notoriously missing one gentleman I had been having a wonderful talk with before I came up on stage!

Thankfully, he forgave me. And I’ll keep trying to focus more!

Tune in for my next blog post, a copy of an article that I have written for my column “The Communicator” in the ‘Your Work’ business section of the Sunday Independent where I will share some simple tips that will help you to remember better.

If there’s a career communications topic you would like to me to cover in an upcoming column, or if you would like me to help you or your organization – please drop me a line at gina@Fuzion.ie

Great communications equal great relationships!

Gina London - Fuzion CommunicationsGina

Gina London is a former CNN anchor and international campaign strategist who is now a director with Fuzion Communications. She serves as a media commentator, emcee, and corporate consultant.

No make-up selfies and the science behind getting your charity’s voice heard.

August 5, 2014

Bra Colour campaign - Breast Cancer

Last year Facebook fans were subjected to a strange bra colour status update craze that took the social networking world by storm. The campaign saw Facebook users inundated by intimate details of their friends’ bra colour, which, it transpired, was all about raising awareness for breast cancer.

No makeup selfies campain - Irish Cancer SocietyThen there was the hugely popular #nomakeup selfie in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, which saw thousands of women, including a number of well-known Irish celebrities, posting bare faced pictures of themselves on social networking sites, although often masked by very flattering filters! The clever campaign, which piggybacked on the burgeoning obsession among young women with the self-portrait, raised a staggering €500,000 for the charity.

It didn’t take long before these trends went viral, particularly when it was taken up by our small pool of Irish celebrities, and the stories started to appear in the media.

That’s one way to hit the headlines when you are looking to fund raise and raise awareness of your existence, but what can you do when you want the Government to sit up and listen to your charity’s most hard hitting issues?

Recently, here at Fuzion, we took on a very worthwhile campaign on behalf of a charity client whereby we facilitated a mass media and lobbying campaign for the return of Discretionary Medical Cards to children with Down syndrome.

The outcome of this was in the region of 15,300 people with an acute or life-long medical condition-among them hundreds of children with Down syndrome- who lost their Discretionary Medical Card, or GP visit card, after an eligibility review between 1 July 2011 and 31 May 2014, had them returned.

Communications Planning and Execution

Employing the services of a skilled Communications Expert is essential for any such lobbying campaign to prove a success. A communications expert is the manager, the gatekeeper between you and the media, the person who adeptly deals with the manifold complexities of any charity, such as members’ individual needs, stakeholders, ethics and rivalry for resources among branches.

Any skilled communications person knows, particularly since the advent of social media, that it is the court of public opinion which wins out on the day, so if you have a communications expert who can get the media on board with your cause and can consistently provide case studies, interviews, sound bites and hard hitting statements while running a concurrent digital and social media campaign you increase your chances of success exponentially.

Medical Cards returnedParents whose children were affected by such a cruel and senseless measure as having this vital lifeline snatched away from them, with allegedly little attempt at sensitivity from officials, were justifiably insensate with rage. In these crisis scenarios it can be difficult for parents to remain focussed on the global issue and to shout from the same script as they desperately fight for their individual child’s needs.

A communications expert is the cool head in the eye of the storm facilitating media coverage, updating social media sites, lobbying government officials and often most importantly regularly updating members and stakeholders on exactly how hard the charity is working to effect change to avoid dissension within the campaign ranks.

Another critical element that a communications expert can provide is solid media training for nominated spokespersons. If you have been granted a five minute slot on a prime time radio or television show to communicate the key messages of your lobbying campaign then you need to be more than prepared for any kind of curve-ball the presenter might throw your way, and they do so regularly.

A charity’s hard fought campaign against a piece of government legislation can be crushed by one sloppy and incoherent interview.

A typical response from well-intentioned Charity CEOs provides succinctly the reason why your spokespersons should receive professional training in how to speak to the media: “I talked to that reporter for over an hour and he didn’t mention anything about what the campaign is all about!

A knowledge and communications expert can bring awareness, greater understanding, cohesion and focus to charities which are member focussed and disparate in nature. A knowledge and communications expert can also help such an organisation to win the trust of stakeholders.

Organisations who win are those who communicate openly and often both internally and externally, have a clear and committed communications policy and regularly assess their own performance.

Following a series of recent high-profile scandals in the charity sector now, more than ever, it is essential that each and every charity has their communications strategy in order and that is overseen by a skilled professional.

Edel O’Connell is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion PR working from the Dublin office.

Fuzion are a PR firm in Ireland with offices in Dublin and Cork

Is anyone a born natural when it comes to the media?

May 27, 2014

media interviewPeople who contact the Fuzion Media Training team frequently feel  embarrassed at  having to do so and our answer to them is always the same, “why do you think you should automatically know how to do this? It’s a skill just like any other that has to be learned and mastered.

I have seen the most experienced spokespeople and politicians fluff lines, panic under pressure and crumble in the face of harsh interrogation. I’ve seen guests come in to do an interview that could have gone out to one million people – but the piece (and worse the opportunity) was canned because they weren’t prepared.  Fascinated by what just happened, I have also, where possible, asked them what they think just went wrong?

Without exception the answer has always been –”I didn’t think through or practice what I wanted to say before going on!”

There are no naturals in this business; very experienced TV presenters rehearse a script 50 if not a 100 times before mastering it.  Most broadcasters are not better at communicating than the rest of us; they’ve just made a career out of practising their content and by extension perfecting their performance.  They also receive constant and, let’s be honest, not always welcome constructive criticism from their production team.

You can work with a media trainer to adopt a similar approach and you don’t have to be facing an imminent broadcast interview to do it.   Media now means much more than it used to, it’s not just newspapers, TV and radio it’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. You need the same media skills to succeed, no matter what the platform, and it’s our job and privilege to show you how.

Our media training includes:

Realising it’s all part of PR

If you have your own business, if you have something to sell, you need to be someone clients will like, know and trust.  We encourage people to identify who their real clients are and how they can connect with them and knowing your clients means knowing which media to use to connect with them too.

You are your own best PR, and any opportunity to promote yourself will be an opportunity to promote your business.  And if you don’t have any desire to be an entrepreneur, you may wish to highlight an essential cause or create a buzz about a charity project.

Whatever the reason, there are always times in life where you need to make the right impression.  As a result, Fuzion offers media training both in isolation and as part of integrated PR packages.

Being clear on your USP and becoming visible

The very first thing to get people to be really clear on is their USP [unique selling point] and a surprising number of people struggle with this. We help you work out this essential information which we then use to build your core message.

We work with a lot of business professionals and when I ask them about their own qualities, they often say “It’s not about me; it’s the product that’s important.” I ask them to think about why they choose one shop over another and the answer is always they go where the person gives the best service.  Of course personality matters. People do business with people they trust and they do so when they get to know the face behind the brand.

Showing you how not to be defensive

This is the make or break of most media interviews. It’s the journalist’s job to ask the questions you want to be asked but equally the ones you don’t.

99% of these questions are easily predicted but we hide behind the pretence that we didn’t know what we were going to be asked. As part of our service we’ll tell you everything you’re going to be asked and we’ll get you to complete a media grid which includes everything you hope to be asked, what you don’t want to be asked and the stories and examples you will use to back up what you are saying!

We’ll then put you through your paces in an intensive mock interview which leaves no stone unturned and which just like the broadcasters will be analysed in minute but always constructive detail! This coupled with some assertive responses will completely eliminate the temptation to get defensive.

Above all else media training will make sure you’re relaxed, memorable and quotable. It’s an investment in both your brand and yourself that will completely transform those opportunities when they come along. 

Amanda Dunleavy, Media Training Dublin, Fuzion Amanda Dunleavy

Amanda Dunleavy is part of the Fuzion Media Training team operating from our offices in both Cork and Dublin.

 

Turning Dreaded Interviews into Media Opportunities

April 22, 2014

Gina London, Media Training, Fuzion Communications, Ireland, Cork, Dublin

Working as part of the Fuzion Media Training team is one of the most rewarding, diverse and challenging parts of the job.

It’s even more interesting from the perspective of being a former journalist as I hadn’t much considered just how difficult and nerve wrecking it is to deal with the unpredictability of media from the interviewee’s perspective!

People from all walks of life seek Fuzion’s expertise in this area for many different reasons – be it an upcoming TV appearance on Dragon’s Den, business leaders wanting to work on their elevator pitch for investors, upcoming radio interviews or as part of an organisation’s crisis management strategy.

Regardless of why they require support, one thing is common to all of our Media Training clients, they entrust in us. This is incredibly humbling and comes with a weight of responsibility on our side that we never underestimate.

Our clients lay their cards on the table for us, warts and all, and we’re tasked to honestly analyse and strategically advise on their strengths, weaknesses and the best approach for them to communicate as individuals and/or as an organisation.

Often it’s a tricky position to be in when you have to take the ‘no holds barred’ approach but almost always, the honesty is appreciated by our clients who know that the goal is to lay the groundwork for effective communication.

Demonstrating the unpredictability of a media interview and the importance of staying ‘on message’ is one of the most intense parts of the training.

I temporarily jump back into the role of a journalist to interrogate, nit-pick and manipulate with my own agenda to give the client an idea of worse-case scenario media interviews. This is where the cracks will be apparent in their verbal and visual communication. It’s tough love!

It’s not easy but it’s necessary to sometimes tell clients that they mumble, sound monotone, are too defensive both in their words and their body language, have a nervous tick and/or if the interview had been live, they could have left their organisation open to controversy. appearing in a very poor light or even a possible lawsuit.

No one takes offence, more often, they’re glad of the honesty of how they sound and appear, looking from the outside in.

From there we work with our clients so that they can effectively, calmly and confidently communicate using their core business strategy to set the agenda and achieve clear communication objectives in all media interviews and opportunities. We work with them to establish their core messages to stay on track (e.g. who they are, what they stand for, why people should care or be interested in them, the positive work do they do, how they are pro-actively working to resolve issues etc.)

Once the client establishes these core messages clearly and concisely, they’re on a sound footing. The tables soon turn to when the client is able to set their own agenda and manage the media opportunity to benefit their goals and business.

With some training every media opportunity can be a golden one.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aobhinn Twomey is part of the Fuzion Media Training team operating from  our offices in both Cork and Dublin.

 

 

 

 

PR – Advice in a Crisis

March 21, 2014

BP - Crisis

We take out insurance policies to protect ourselves if anything goes wrong – being ready to deal with a potential crisis in your organisation might be just as important.

Every organisation needs to be aware of its vulnerabilities and have a plan in place to deal with a crisis situation.  With the advance of social media, where and how a crisis develops is ever more complex and the speed factor can make it more challenging than ever before.

No organisation can afford to hide in a crisis as it has the potential to damage relationships with clients and stakeholders, wreak havoc on an organisation’s reputation, seriously effect revenue and in the worst cases result in closure.

Planning in Advance

We work with our clients in advance of any potential crisis, planning such things as:-

  • Reactive Statements
  • Preparing spokespeople to deal with the media: Media Training
  • Monitoring traditional and online media
  • Devising an action plan that will be put into place should the potential crisis become a reality
  • Developing an Internal Communications Strategy to include communications to relevant stakeholders
  • Crisis Social Media Strategy

Crisis PR - Fuzion PR We have worked on a number of high-profile national and international crises and we have also worked on other situations where the crisis didn’t materialise due to strategic planning, internal communications and careful management.

Sometimes you do need some luck on your side but you find if you do the right things you end up being lucky!

PR Advice

If there is a potential crisis in your organisation here is some practical advice:

  • Involve your PR company as quickly as possible – let them deal with the media, you have a crisis to sort out!
  • Be frank and open with the PR company –  trust them.
  • Should a crisis involve potential litigation, involve a legal expert to ensure that any PR messages/statements will not compromise any possible legal proceedings.
  • Always keep the lines of communication open between you and your PR agency – if something new arises the agency should be one of the first to know in order to anticipate media queries.
  • Ensure that all members of the organisation are aware of any public statements and are briefed as to the contents, so that that the message is uniform at all times.
  • Where possible a staff FAQ document should be distributed to equip the team on how to handle any enquiries from the general public; this will also help with Internal Comms and staff morale
  • At no point should any member of the organisation issue the words, “no comment”- it speaks volumes on what you may or may not be trying to hide!!
  • Always refer any press queries back to your PR company who can act as your “gatekeeper” and allow them to manage communications with press.
  • Agree a nominated spokesperson who will be quoted in all statements, and is in effect ‘the human face’ behind the crisis. As much as possible this needs to be the MD or CEO of the company.
  • The PR company should be ‘on call’ at all times during the initial crisis stage.
  • Immediately establish a news monitoring service to catch all stories relating to the incident
  • Monitor on-line mentions, comments, opinions and with your PR company agree a strategy around social media engagement during a crisis.

Our last big piece of advice is to always try to communicate the positive things about the organisation even during the crisis. Do this while the media are interested in your story – it’s too late after!

I sincerely hope you never find you or your organisation in a crisis situation but if you do I hope you find this advice useful.

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron

Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland offer a full Crisis PR Service. Deirdre Waldron, (Partner) heads up the Crisis PR team, which includes former journalists, media training and social media expertise.

Time to change the channel!

October 30, 2013

Hector - 2FM

I am an ‘RTE Morning Ireland girl- always have been!

As a PR consultant, and a former political adviser, I have been addicted to the news for a long time. But lately I’ve been finding myself sneakily switching over to Hector on 2fm between news bulletins.

It’s not that I’m not interested in the news, but Hector (somewhat indulgently) calls his listeners ‘soldiers of the dawn’. I’m not sure why this is so appealing, but sometimes when I am in traffic at 7.45am, I feel like a soldier of the dawn!

Isn’t it enough just to be up, to be on my way to work? Do I have to listen to a full 40 minutes of bad news stories before I get there as well?

Hector says things like ‘keep her lit’ and ‘keep it country’, and he plays very upbeat, happy tunes. It’s nice!

Recently I heard Kate Adie, veteran BBC news correspondent, tell a radio presenter, that people don’t sit down at 9pm anymore, to watch ‘the news’, as we once knew it.

We now have news on tap, – iphones, car radios, twitter, facebook- if something happens, you will hear about it -so it’s no longer surprising at 9pm. Whether you are interested or not, you can’t escape it. If something is happening, you will hear about it.

As Kate Adie pointed out, news has a function, whether you care about it or not, it acts as a warning, a heads up. It reminds you to look after your life. That’s a good thing.

Trouble is, sometimes you need to escape it.

A constant diet of personal insolvency, Anglo tapes, dissolving the Seanad, shootings, (and that’s before you’ve had a coffee) can’t be good for you – It is ok to tune out from time to time, to take a break from your life, to unplug from it all.

Sometimes you just need to listen to a song, simple as that.

An MD of a large organisation in the financial services sector recently told me he listens to LyricFm on the way to work. He says it’s good for the soul, and besides, he has the rest of the day to hear all the bad news.

So by all means, listen to the news, get the headlines, as Kate Adie says, take the heads up, and look after your life. But there’s no harm in changing the channel every once in a while.

..You might actually arrive to work in a good mood!

Jill Collins - Fuzion PRJill Collins is a PR Consultant  and Media Training expert with Fuzion PR who have offices in Cork and Dublin


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