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How to Skate Circles Around a Media Crisis
Play your PR strategy like a hockey game.
 More of this Feature
 Part 1: Skate to the puck
 Related Resources
 Crisis Moments
 Crisis Management Links
 Effective Media Relations
 PR Toolkit
 Elsewhere on the Web
 The Rules of Hockey

  (The Rules - Continued)

7. Speak like Don Cherry -- tell it like it is.

Always tell the truth. If you need to stay clear of a dangerous question, learn how to diplomatically get the puck out of your own zone. If you can't give an answer, explain why.Hockey

8. Will you dump the puck in or carry it over the blue line?

What's your strategy? Figure out in advance what your public relations goals are and then use the media to reach those goals. Uncertainty or confusion at the opposing team's blue line usually leads to an offside call.

9. An elbow to the ribs might hurt but it won't kill you.

Stanley Cup champions put up with the cheap shots because they have their eyes on the big prize. So don't whine when media coverage doesn't live up to your expectations. Seek fair and balanced coverage over the long term.

10. You don't need a slapshot every time.

Make a big media splash only when it's justified. Too many organizations stage lavish media conferences or tours when more subtle tools would be just as effective.

11. Don't be a puck hog!

Handling a media crisis is a team effort. Trying to go it alone will only tire you out and make it easier for the opposing team to score. Use your public relations, marketing and legal people to map out a crisis management plan. But be careful you don't have too many players on the ice at one time!

12. Remember why you have a coach.

Hockey teams don't hire baseball people to coach or manage. So make sure you hire a news media veteran to coach your spokespersons. Demand that your trainer put your people through mock interviews that cover the range of easy questions to in-your-face interrogations.

  First page > Skate where the puck is! > Page 1, 2

Richard Perry is a Canadian media training specialist 
serving government and private clients. 
He can be reached at

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