Keep Your Cool in a Crisis—It Makes a Difference

It was a slow news day at my old station a few years ago, and the 5 p.m. newscast was about 15 minutes from starting. The producer went into the control booth, but came out as if he had seen a ghost.

“What happened?” I asked.

“The console isn’t working,” he answered in disbelief.

“What do you mean it’s not working?” I responded.

A bit panicked, he said, “The director says that no videos will play and no graphics will show up, and I have about 10 minutes until my newscasts starts!”

He then took a deep breath, walked back into the control booth, informed the on-air talent about the issue, and said, “I know this isn’t ideal, but we still have to broadcast a great show.”

I watched the show on one of the TV monitors. For a newscast that had absolutely no added visual elements, it went pretty well.

Months later, the console went down again. (Technology is great, isn’t it?) This time, a different producer was affected. He started cursing, yelling, and complaining about the station’s faulty equipment. The thought of a show that had no visuals repulsed him. His show didn’t go so well. In fact, the channel stayed on black for a good two minutes, and the whole crew left the studio completely frazzled.

It’s amazing what having a calm attitude can do in the midst of a crisis.

You’re able to breathe and think about the next actions to take, you can communicate better, and you can maintain a professional demeanor.

Besides, have you ever tried working for a supervisor who loses it at the first sign of trouble? It’s hard to have confidence in a person like that.

The true makeup of a leader comes to light in difficult times. So, no matter how chaotic you feel on the inside, pull yourself together and put up a strong front for your team. Your strength will empower the rest of your team to pull through.

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. – Willa Cather

I agree with Willa 100%. But I would tweak the quote a bit and say:

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. But even when you’re in the storm, keep calm.

You can quote me on that one…

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

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