Let PR show you how to handle the issue and still have a great event
Are you worried about members of the media attending your next event, shareholder’s meeting or public presentation? You should be; the media are a powerful component of our society. However, while you should be aware of them, you don’t have to fear them.
If there are media in the room, you should be thankful! They are trained and credentialed journalists who are there to get the story right. The truth is that, these days, there’s always media in the room – social media. With help from PR, you can get control, get better prepared and get used to it.
What it means to have media in the room
Often, executives contend that there is a time and place for media and demand that they stay out of meetings designed to be private, for internal audiences or by invitation only. This uneasiness typically stems from the media’s perceived effect on the free flow of information and the event organizer’s anxiety about remarks being taken out of context.
Nowadays, while that’s still a consideration, it’s mostly an old-fashioned mindset and outdated concern. Citizen journalism is everywhere. Social media, home of consumer-generated content, has become a ubiquitous part of news coverage and our lives – for better or worse.
You never know who is recording audio or video of the event or meeting. Someone could be live-tweeting, live-streaming or uploading everything to YouTube. It’s also possible that anyone might be emailing information about the meeting to individuals not in attendance – even to your competition. This is how innocent (but funny) gaffes go viral.
How to manage the possibility of media in the room
Remember that there is no “off the record.” There really never was. To be safe, follow the old adage: “If you don’t want it said publicly, don’t say it.”
Have an agenda and stick to it. Problems are more likely to occur when participants go off-topic or ramble. If someone asks an unrelated question, request that the asker save it for a future meeting on that issue.
Request that cellphones and smart devices be turned off or put away, if possible. After all, no one wants to address a room full of people who are playing Candy Crush instead of listening and participating. While this will not completely eliminate the possibility of recording, it might discourage it.
Record the event yourself. For one thing, it will serve as a reminder to participants that their words and actions are on camera. This may encourage them to be on their best behavior and pay more attention to what they actually say. Also, if anyone tries to release only a portion of the event or remarks, you will be able to show the true context in its entirety.
*A special bonus: You will then have the option of using your video as added-value content for your own website, social media platforms and online newsroom.
Be ready for any fallout. No one’s perfect, so you should realize that mistakes and misunderstandings may happen. Prepare a crisis management plan with defined procedures on how to handle such a situation.
Have the right PR firm in the room to back you up. At Axia Public Relations, we are media experts. Whether it’s social or news media, we will help you manage your messages and events to increase your visibility while also protecting your reputation. Contact us today or register for our 60-Second Impact for more tips and tools to grow your business.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.
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