How Do You Stay Calm While Facing Public Outrage?

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    These tips could help you survive an outrage outbreak

    Though public outrage has always been a driving force in PR crises, I think we’d all agree it’s become a whole new beast over the last few years. Not only is it easier to share negative opinions than ever before, but it’s also more rewarding. Social media users provide immediate Outrage emoticon angry face on iPhonereinforcement to those expressing outrage with a quick hit of likes, shares, and supportive responses that encourages the cycle. Even traditional media is getting in on the game as many major newscasts now make a habit of highlighting particularly outraged posts in reaction to breaking crises.

    If you’ve never faced an outraged audience before it’s only a matter of time, but don’t panic! Here are four ways you can stay calm when faced with public outrage:

    1. Have a plan and be prepared. As with any predictable crisis situation, if you know you’ll be the target of public outrage at some point it only makes sense to prepare in advance. Creating a plan and ensuring your people know how to use it will reduce the initial sense of panic.
    2. Quantify and qualify. Is this one vocal person or is it truly a concerning percentage? Are these actually your stakeholders or are they random internet users? Is the damage limited to reputation or are we already seeing a monetary loss? Questions like these will help ensure you have the info you need to prevent stressful surprises.

    Want to see the second half of this handy list of ways to stay calm in the face of the all-too-common outrage outbreak? Click here for more.

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is vice president for the firm and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

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