Crisis Simulation 2015 Winners!

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(My Team: Image taken by: Friederike Rummenhohl)

In PR, when you hear the word ‘Crisis’ everyone goes into a melt down. It’s the worst situation a brand or company could be in but for some circumstances that are out of their control, it does happen. With practice, patience and commitment you can tackle the situation. There are bound to be mistakes and errors within the high speed process, which is something I learnt when I took part in a Crisis Simulation run by one of my university lecturers.

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(Acting Vice Chancellor (Rob Dalton) Image taken by: Friederike Rummenhohl)

The day started out with being assigned rooms for each mock PR team competing. There was also other vital members who played the roles of ‘students’, ‘journalists’, ‘health authorities’, ‘accommodation office staff’, and the ‘Vice Chancellor’. The crisis was involving a made up university and a student collapsing with a possible Ebola diagnosis. Our task was to control the situation until test results came back the following day. With the mock students panicking and the media speculating bad practice from the University for not shutting it down; as the mock PR team we had to make sure the right materials and communications were sent out.

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(Image taken by: Friederike Rummenhohl)

It was a fun day, besides all the stress that came along with it, and my team were able to put our innovative ideas to use. We could see that sending out just written statements wasn’t persuading the stakeholders that the situation was being controlled and looked into. So with the use of a video interview from the Vice Chancellor, we put the ‘real time’ aspect using synchronous communication into the asynchronous communication world of social media. It worked like a charm! The mock students were more satisfied with the personal message from the Vice Chancellor and it gave them piece of mind that he was involved and taking the matter seriously.

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(Image taken by: Friederike Rummenhohl)

The overall day was a learning experience, and I will certainly put the skills learnt during the simulation into practice within my future PR career. You never know, I might have to deal with a similar situation in the future but for real; at least I have had this preparation so I can learn from some of the mistakes made. Besides having some mistakes, the majority of the work produced and effort put in to control the crisis paid off. As myself and the rest of my team including Kelly Dorbek, Stephanie Harris, Mathilde Trouillet and Sophie Santandrea, WON the crisis simulation. So pleased that our hard work paid off and I’ll be sure to use these skills in the future.

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