2016 PRSSA National Conference Session Recap: Crises in the Crossroads

Session: Crises in the Crossroads

Presenter(s): Myra Borshoff – APR, Fellow PRSA and Founder, Borshoff and Jen Dial – Global Communications Manager, Eli Lilly and Company

Recap:

“A crisis is anything that keeps the CEO awake at night.”

In one of the first three breakaway sessions offered at this year’s National Conference, Myra Borshoff and Jen Dial spoke about their experiences managing crises in and around the city of Indianapolis. They offered insights from specific situations they had faced; perhaps most notably the 2011 Sugarland concert grandstands collapse. The two professionals shared what they would do again and what they would do differently when dealing with crises as a public relations person. Both stressed the importance of being able to tell your organization’s side of the story in order to gain the upper hand in communicating to publics.

Key takeaways:

  1. Always have a voice at the table when executives are meeting during a crisis—earns you a proven track record and earns the trust of your senior advisers
  2. In those closed door board meetings, stick to your guns and be confident—you are the expert, and that is why you are at the table
  3. The most important thing in a crisis is to stay calm, get all of the information and the facts—do not get too caught up in the drama
  4. Do not try to divert attention from you by pointing it toward someone else—it will almost always backfire

Maura Fenske is a junior public relations major, and journalism minor, at Waynesburg University. She serves as Chapter President for the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America, and as an Account Specialist for Red Brick Communications. Maura hopes to combine her passion for public relations, writing and sports in her future career.


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