I must admit I have worked for a fair number of years in PR and have dealt with a few serious issues in my time. Looking back I must admit that I have had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach more times than I have fingers or toes. Something happens and you fight to get positive messages out before the newspaper deadlines start slamming in your face. But if you manage to create some good news out of an impossible story I must admit there is no greater high.
I read in PR Week this week that in a survey -The Ten Most Stressful White Collar Jobs in America — it was found that PR is the second most stressful job after being an airline pilot. I can quite agree with it as any PR person will tell you that reputation management is very stressful. How so? some may ask. Well in PR you really have to know what is going on in every department of the organisation. It is not like sales where you may have a dip in sales for a month or two. Let’s say a spokesman gives a quote to the media which is misinterpretted and creates unhappiness or even may question the trust of the organisation. So much can happen. What you say as the PR person in response if negative could affect the organisations share price and even affect sales. How you respond? How quickly you respond and who responds with a message or statement to calm people is essential. Knowing what you say will affect the company can be stressfull and I will never forget the day I was working for an organisation when the CEO turned to me and asked “What do I do?” I had to give him advice on the media which was fine as media relations is fairly easy but afterwards it got me thinking how important my job was and that the leader of the organisation needed my help. How often does any department in an organisation get the CEO asking for help?
In regard to issuing statements if I am really pressed for time I have found that if you keep it vague it normally buys you some time. If you are not saying you are investigating you could always do the old favourite I used in London — “We take all enquires seriously but it is the organisations policy not to comment on any individual case.” Well it worked before FOI! 😉