'What the' moments in PRSA

By Shara Clark, Cincinnati PRSA President

As PR people, we’ve all had them. It’s that moment when your phone dings with a nasty complaint posted on a client’s Facebook page at 11:36 p.m. The moment when your room full of meeting attendees is supposed to head to lunch and the caterer still hasn’t shown up. Maybe even that moment when you pull up to your building and there’s a 60 Minutes crew waiting for you.

Shara Clark is President of Cincinnati PRSA and a professor in public relations at Miami University .

Shara Clark is President of Cincinnati PRSA and a professor in public relations at Miami University.

Your pulse starts to race. Maybe a little sweat beads up on your forehead. It’s fight or flight at its best. In a split second, you have to move past the freakout and channel your inner Tim Gunn to “Make it Work.”

Hopefully in those moments, you’re surrounded by those clutch team members and supporters who rally for a remedy. We’ve had a few of those moments this year at PRSA meetings (not as big as 60 Minutes, but moments nonetheless). And, I’m so thankful for the clutch players we have in the Cincinnati PRSA community.

Clutch Play #1 – When the AV Goes South

For our February event, Golin CEO Fred Cook arrived at the luncheon ready to plug in his presentation and the video projector wouldn’t work (even though it worked fine when tested that morning). We jump into action, working with the venue to contact a vendor. Meanwhile, I spot Annie McManis with Intrinzic whose offices just happen to be a few blocks away. So, I tap her on the shoulder to see if they have one at their office. Not even necessary—Annie has a projector in the trunk of her car! In a matter of minutes, we are up and running. Thank you, Annie!

Clutch Play #2 – When a Reds Day Game Ruins Parking Plans

At our recent April blogger relations panel, hosted by Northlich, we realized that morning that the day game that would overtake the majority of the available parking. The Northlich team went into full speed, brainstorming the best options. A trip to the nearby parking lot and a little PR charm from Northlich’s Liz Adkins quickly reserved spaces at the lot. By the time I got to the event, Northlich had secured the spots, prepaid for the parking and posted signage. Special thanks to Northlich for providing lunch, space, speakers AND parking for that event.

The Lesson?

Stuff happens. Have great people you can trust, be flexible and stay calm to focus on the best solution. And, of course, never let them see you sweat!