Even if you’ve made it this far without having to manage a public relations crisis around your event, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune. Because meetings, events and conferences have so many moving parts and participants, there is always an opportunity for problems to arise. Follow these tips if you find yourself in the middle of a PR crisis:
With evolving technology like Twitter and 24-hour news cycles, there might not be much time between a story breaking and it becoming a major news story. While this means there is an incentive to respond quickly to any type of PR crisis, it’s important to make sure you understand all the nuances of the situation so that you can respond in a thoughtful, sensitive way.
When you’re dealing with a large-scale event or conference, responses may need to be run by clients, partners, or other stakeholders; however, once you’ve done your research and solidified your stance, we suggest responding as quickly, clearly, and definitively as possible. Use precise, concrete language, and make sure the response is coming from the right voice within the organization.
When you’re facing opposition, it can be tempting to skew the facts in your favor, but each misrepresentation presents the opportunity for the crisis to grow or resurface once the inaccuracy is revealed. Spend time developing strategies to paint your company or event in the best light possible without stretching the factual truths, and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know an answer.
Especially when you feel like your association or event is being misrepresented, it can be tempting to share more information than the public needs. Remember, your goal is to provide only the details your audience needs to rectify the PR crisis at hand.
Crisis management is an essential and often unacknowledged responsibility of the event planning industry. That’s why we’ve spent the past few months addressing risk management and contingency planning topics like Cyber Security for Event Professionals, Terrorist Attack & Active Shooter Preparedness, and Natural Disaster Preparation & Event Planning. We hope you’ll share these articles with others in the event industry and follow us on Twitter for additional resources.