Overcoming Fear During a Crisis

When a crisis strikes, there is enormous pressure on the leader to do and say the right thing.

As crisis communicators, we have encountered anxiety’s often-paralyzing effect on many decision-makers in critical moments. This mental stress is painful for the leader and in extreme cases, has repercussions that can be damaging to their career or the company they represent.

Thankfully, you can take steps now to prevent freezing when the pressure is on. A critical part of building your confidence under pressure is overcoming your fear of criticism and rejection.

As Jia Jiang explores in this popular Ted Talk, ‘What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection,’ desensitizing yourself to these worst-case scenarios can help you overcome the anxiety and shame we often feel when faced with the possibility of rejection.

Much like Jia Jiang’s “rejection therapy” experiment, in public relations, crisis simulations and media training help us build our endurance for criticism and strengthen messaging discipline. Another variation of this we hear about every four years during the presidential election cycle: debate prep.

It’s not easy, especially at first, but as Jia Jiang, presidential candidates and crisis communicators like us have found — the more you exercise your fear response, the stronger that muscle gets.

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