When Crisis Calls, Answer the Phone

Our first instinct in crisis often is to run and raise the drawbridge. Facing a potential threat, we try to shelter ourselves from looming danger.

A recent conversation I had with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) reinforced the importance of reaching out, not retreating, when confronting crisis.

It started, as crises often do, with a call from a reporter. Rather than taking down information and background on the story the reporter was pursuing, Emily Lenzner, who runs global communication and public affairs for the MPA, did something unusual. She engaged robustly.

Learning more about facts and focus not only enabled her to get a clearer picture, it afforded an opportunity to develop a relationship with the journalist. It was not someone Lenzner had worked with previously. By not being defensive or elusive, she was able to quickly generate a level of trust and, off the record, clarified critical points.

The reporter realized there was no story. But, the journalist and Lenzner built a bridge for next time.

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