As PR professionals, we are expected to stay calm and cool during a client crisis, a major client project or a big announcement. It is important that clients feel you are in control and handling the project well. Although we must appear calm, on the inside we feel stressed out and freak out as much as anybody else. Here are some tips on how to stay calm and on top of things during a big client project or crisis:
1. Stay organized. The quickest way to stress yourself out is if you allow yourself to become disorganized. Create a separate file (both electronic and hard copy) for the project you are working on. Be sure to update each draft with the date so you can easily find the most recent versions of whatever you are working on.
2. Make lists. Create multiple lists—timelines, to-dos and updated media lists. Be sure everything you need to accomplish and everyone you need to contact is physically written down. It is much harder to forget something or someone if it is written down and not just in your head.
3. Delegate. Give team members tasks that they can help with. Can a team member help update a media list or conduct research? Split up the tasks between team members working on the project.
4. Overcommunicate. When working on an important project that is time sensitive, it is important to keep everyone updated to avoid doubling up on tasks. At times it may feel like you are going overboard with emails and phone calls, but be sure to constantly update your team with what you are currently working on, what you’ve completed and what you plan on completing.
5. Evaluate. After completing a major project or going through a major crisis, give yourself a bit of time to step away from the project. Then revisit and evaluate. What went well? What didn’t go well? What would you do the same or differently the next time a similar project comes up? Be sure to debrief with your team and share what you could have done to improve for next time.