Don’t Try to ‘Common Sense’ Your Way Out of a Crisis

crisis communications

One of the most ‘common’ mistakes public relations pros make when faced with a crisis situation, particularly when they have little crisis experience, is to try to ‘common sense’ their way out of it.  More to the point, if they don’t have experience all that they likely know about crisis management is what they may have read on a couple of blogs or at that one conference they attended three years ago, and they try to wing it.… Read the rest

Beware of Language that Dehumanizes


As the country and the world become even more divided along political, religious or national lines, language is increasingly used to dehumanize its targets. Language itself is being weaponized so as to condition people to consider the targets of that language as less than human.

This allows for the justification of committing any number of unethical, immoral or even atrocious acts toward them.… Read the rest

Media Interviewing: Beware of the Invisible Question

Media training

If you’ve agreed to do a media interview and it will be recorded, and then edited before “airing,” beware of the invisible question. What’s that, you ask?

It’s when the interviewer purposefully tells a story or asks what may appear to be a long or disjointed question that may give you pause. It could be one that seemingly comes out of nowhere, or, it could just be the way the interviewer stated things.… Read the rest

New Crisis Management Book: The Essential Crisis Communications Plan

Crisis Communications Plan

The Essential Crisis Communications Plan
Simplifies Creation of Customized Crisis Management Plan

Crisis and Issues Management Veteran Tim O’Brien Condenses Decades
of  Crisis Management Experience into a Real-time, Step-by-Step Handbook

Pittsburgh, PA, August 2, 2023 – Crisis communications and issues management veteran Tim O’Brien’s new book, The Essential Crisis Communications Plan: A Crisis Management Process that Fits Your Culture, is unique in the world of communications-centric books in that it is an actual crisis management plan readers can quickly adapt to their own operating cultures.… Read the rest

One Thing to Remember When Managing Your First Crisis

crisis communications

Every crisis communicator had to start somewhere. Hopefully, your first taste of crisis communications or crisis management was in support of someone more experienced than you, someone who could show you what to do and what not to do.

But that’s not always the case. More often than not, as organizations cut staff to the bare minimum, and don’t free up moneys for outside consultants, the one-person communications function is a commonality.… Read the rest

You Only Need One Out of Four Crisis Communications “Experts”

crisis communications

There are four kinds of crisis communications experts. Spoiler alert. You only need one of them.

Here they are:

  1. The Academic
  2. The Performative Presenter
  3. The Media Trainer
  4. The Counselor

The reason you only need one is because only one of these four has actually managed a crisis before. If you’re not sure which one is the one you need, we’ll get there.… Read the rest

The Art of Fatherhood Taps Some Things We Learn in Public Relations

Father's Day

I almost never mention my personal life in my professional communications. This is an exception.

With the Father’s Day holiday coming up this Sunday, I’ve been thinking about the decades that I’ve been a dad, which have also coincided with the large part of my career in the PR business.

We often hear someone talk about a business that they “fathered,” or a special idea or project that they “gave birth to,” or more commonly today, their “fur babies,” as they self-identify as a cat-mom or a dog-dad. … Read the rest

Remembering Camp Ketchum


During the ten years I spent at global PR firm Ketchum, one of the things I benefited from was the firm’s commitment to professional development. In addition to gaining the experience of working with some of the world’s leading companies and organizations as clients, on some of their more challenging problems, if you worked for Ketchum, you knew you were an investment.… Read the rest