The semester is quickly drawing to a close. I just cannot wrap up the semester without chronicling some of the highlights.
When we arrived to our Crisis Communications class a few weeks ago we were immediately placed in a simulated crisis. Each of us were paired with another classmate and handed a piece of paper that contained a crisis in which we, as the PR professionals, were to respond.
I was paired with one of my friends from class and darned if we didn’t pull the short straw. In our fictional scenario a patient died in our hospital because one of the nurses were not administering the proper medicine but using it for her own personal use.
Hmm… Now isn’t that a pickle.
It really doesn’t matter that we have no experience in the medical profession. The exercise is to teach us how to handle ourselves when dealing with the media (and the family in this case) during a crisis. Saying “no comment” is not an option. This course is about handling a crisis dead on with integrity and transparency.
We had five minutes to prepare and then we were to stand before our peers who were posing as the media. They took their jobs very seriously. They were tough. I was pleased that my partner and I came out unscathed from this little exercise although I made a couple of mistakes. Let’s call them learning opportunities.
Each one of us had a turn and we were able to reflect and critique ourselves after each simulation presentation.
Being up there on the hot spot with a quiet room of your peers staring at you with blank expressions was quite different from passively reading the book. Just like everything else in life, I believe that true learning comes from practice. Reading certainly helps, but going through the motions is more valuable. In my opinion, this is learning. This is where the rubber meets the road. I loved being challenged in this way.