When there are glitches, keep calm & keep communicating

Recently, our team seemed to be going into the deep sea with two back-to-back campaigns. Thankfully, like everything in internal communications, the deadlines got pushed, and the team got some breathing space.

Yet…experience has taught me otherwise.

It’s an eerie thing to be cool when you have ongoing campaigns. Almost always, you’ve either forgotten something or a meeting or you have really nailed it.

Today’s column focuses on real glitches I’ve faced during org-wide campaigns, and my learnings through all of it.

See, with media, in spite of all the great technology in the world…. everything can still go wrong. You can record a great video message with a leader, but if the mic wasn’t working, or some technical glitch occurred, you can lose their audio and worse, their video too.

How do you work when things go haywire?

1. Be cool: Yes, stuff hits the ceiling, and yes, it’s bad, but reacting and panicking won’t solve anything. Keep your head down and think of a way to rectify it, asap! Oh, and one thing for sure, please do not lose your cool. I still remember when one campaign went a bit off, someone, who was in no form of authority screamed at the team who made the mistake. It didn’t look good on the person nor did anyone appreciate it.

How do you work when you have nothing, and yet the stakeholder expects everything?

2. Go bit by bit: Address their immediate concerns and keep pushing out work. It may be a design for a campaign whose name hasn’t been approved or a leader script, and the leader hasn’t been finalised. As a communications bit, working in the midst of uncertainty is almost a given, you have to learn to be nimble, and prepared for any scenario.

How do you stay relevant?

3. Keep a track of advertising campaigns: Every person will have a different set of companies whose campaigns they admire. One person may like Coca Cola, another Emirates. Whichever company you decide to follow, just keep a track of the way they work. My recent favorite was Apple’s ad on Work From Home. I thought it was brilliant, and since I’ve seen leaders using Tik Tok on Facebook to keep employees motivated, it was an instant pitch for a recent campaign. However, given the ban on Tik Tok, we had to improvise.

Rant your head off in front of your team, and smile and wave in front of the stakeholder

4. Rant when necessary: See, everyone has their favorite team to work for and the ones that you’d want to stay far away from, but at the end of the day, work has to get done. So, when the going gets tough, take a break, rant to your team, blow off some steam, and then get back with your head down, and churn out great work.

Handling internal events

When I have said that Internal Communications is like the newspaper of the company, there is one part which is unlike a newspaper, and that is internal events. I liken handling events to a pure shot of adrenaline. There’s so much going on, so much at stake, and high pressure.

5. Keep communicating at all times: During high pressure events, it’s important everything is documented so stay on top of things especially when there are 100 things to check. A detailed tracking sheet, daily calls, and having a list of deliverables down to each day helps stay ahead.

In spite of all the above points, something entirely new may crop up. Take it in your stride, focus on the deliverable, and remember, it’s always a learning.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nilofer DSouza
A former business journalist with Forbes India, Nilofer D'Souza, has, over the years, worked with leaders across IT, healthcare, and retail in the corporate sector. For over a decade, having won various awards, she's learned to deep dive into an organization's culture and drive effective communications.

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