Mistakes happen in the PR world… all the time. With so many cooks in the kitchen, – between team members, clients, vendors, consumers, interns – there are a lot of people to keep track of and jobs to get done. Of course, it is our job to keep on top of everything and stay organized (making PR girls some of the biggest control freaks and type-A’s you’ll ever meet), but sometimes something falls through the cracks. Slipping up at work is probably one of the worst feelings, and it may be your natural reaction to try to solve the issue as quickly as possible or blame other circumstances instead of owning up to the mistake and apologizing. Saying you’re sorry is hard to do when you’d like to think you have it all together, like the PR girl does. But if you handle the situation correctly, these mistakes can turn into great opportunities for growth and a chance to show your superiors how you handle crazy pressure. Here are a few tips:
You dropped the ball. Now what?
First, breathe – Personally, when something bad happens my first reaction is to swear under my breath. It’s a nasty sailor habit. Other people scream. Other people cry. When you’re at the office though, try to keep these natural reactions to a minimum. It is not worth making your team anxious and the situation more dramatic. If you are feeling incredibly frustrated, and need to yell, scream or cry… go outside.
Don’t start pointing fingers – Since we deal with so many third parties as PR people, it would be easy to blame vendors, event designers, interns or clients for problems. Unless it is BLATANTLY obvious that another party dropped the ball, do not call out another party for the problem. It doesn’t find a solution any quicker, and frankly people do not want to work with a whistleblower.
Don’t move too quickly – You may want to jump the gun and try to solve the problem before you even think it through, hoping you can make up for your mistake before too much harm is done. Sometimes this leads to even more worries. Best thing to do is take time to think through a solution, let a team member know what’s up, and be sure you can feasible move forward to solve the problem.
Apologize – If the issue is your fault or result of something you were working on, it’s best to own up to it right away. Apologizing with grace and offering a solution to fix the problem at hand is the best way to come clean in the PR world. Taking ownership is mature, responsible and proactive – who wouldn’t want that girl on their team?
Have you had to say you’re sorry at work lately?