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Thursday 19 May 2016

Second year PR students give tips on how to stay calm under pressure

Whilst PR_SSU's third years breathe a heavy sigh of relief after submitting their final pieces of work, the first and second years are currently out in the industry on placement.

As a couple of our students have already experienced, the world of PR can be fast moving and unpredictable, one email can change everything, making it hard to stay on track and organised. Often PR professionals have to deal with crises in the workplace, yet, as a student this can be a daunting prospect.

The following tips will always apply in crisis situations and are worth remembering if the pressure starts to rise, if you are able to remain cool calm and collected you will be a far more useful member of the team, plus it will always be noticed by your superiors which can only be a positive!

Always expect the unexpected

Contingency plans can seem pointless when everything goes well, but on the odd occasion that things go badly it is important to have a backup plan. As a PR professional communication is vital, therefore by having a considered plan already thought out communication can be quicker and actions can run more smoothly.

Be prepared

Whilst not dissimilar from the first point, preparation really is key in every area of PR. When a crisis strikes its great to be prepared, whether this be having a main document full of necessary contact details, or one further and printing one out in case of IT issues. By knowing where to find relevant information it can massively cut response times and save you a lot of stress!

Keep a clear mind

When that bad news arrives it is only natural to lose your nerve, but it never helps! By keeping calm and thinking logically, steps can be taken more quickly to address the issues and communicate with relevant people. So take a deep breath - you will be no use in a corner hyperventilating!

Communicate

Whilst you may desperately want to bury your head in the hand and ignore the problem, it will never help! Make an effort to communicate with the necessary people in order to ensure everyone is up to date, after all we are communication professionals!

Work as a team

Take a coupe of minutes to brief your team on key messages and exact duties. Like anything, a crisis can seem impossible to handle as a single person. As a team however, roles can be assigned and issues resolved more thoroughly and professionally.

Learn from the experience

Whilst a crisis, no matter how small, will ever been wanted, there will always be a valuable lesson to be learnt from it. The lessons we learn make us more knowledgeable, better prepared and more experienced. It is useful to bring the team together once the dust has settled and talk about what went well and what could have gone better, that way future crises can be more effectively dealt with.

Relax

Often crises mean office hours are stretched out and stress levels rise. To ensure productivity doesn’t decrease it is important to rest in your time off. Otherwise you will return to your desk as tired as when you left!

Good luck to all PR students out on placement, we hope you're having a great time!