Magazine article Journal of Property Management

3 Steps to Take When Things Go Wrong

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

3 Steps to Take When Things Go Wrong

Article excerpt

Key communication tactics ensure smooth sailing through crises

YOUR CELL PHONE RINGS AT 11:05 P.M. IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, YOU KNOW THAT CALLS AT THIS HOUR ARE RARELY GOOD NEWS. The caller is your client, informing you that the evening news has reported a major incident at your building. Your worst nightmare has indeed come true. What do you do?

Incidents can and do happen to our properties and our companies. Natural disasters, fires, robberies, corporate calamities and even deaths occur. How your company handles the challenges and manages the situation can make all the difference between a stellar-or a damaged-reputation.

Avert communication mishaps with these simple tips:

DO PREPARE

Don't underestimate the value of advance preparation. Almost everyone has experienced a public relations snafu. The trick is having the finesse to ensure it doesn't turn into a public relations nightmare.

The best plan of attack is always to address an incident up front-no one likes surprises. Think through possible scenarios and be prepared to state what you know and what you will do. Be ready to execute. If a crisis occurs on your property, use it as a learning experience to motivate and train your team. This is one area where rehearsal and repetition are critical.

At the start of my first career in hotel management, there was a major catastrophe at another large metropolitan hotel. People gathering to watch a dance competition found themselves entangled in a tragedy when the walkway they were on collapsed due to a structural failure; over 100 people were killed and scores were injured in the midst of the chaos. …

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