I remember the first time an attorney called with news of a pending lawsuit. My first reaction was anything but calm. It happens to everyone in business. No matter what type of business, we will all encounter a crisis. It comes out of nowhere: an accident, a breakdown, a lawsuit. The immediate panic is overwhelming, followed quickly by feelings of despair and helplessness. And a need to do something.
Before you respond, learn how to stay calm in a crisis. It can make all the difference in the outcome, no matter what the cause.
- Stop, look, and listen. Resist the temptation to react or retaliate. Take a few seconds to evaluate. You need to determine the full scope of the situation before proceeding. (Of course, a sudden or physical threat, such as a fire or a colleague’s heart attack, require immediate action.)
- Who, what, when, where, and how. Think like a news reporter: Get as much data as possible. Delegate responsibilities to get the job accomplished as quickly as possible. Depending on the crisis, a public announcement or response may be expected, so time is critical.