Six Strategies for Managing a Professional Crisis

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At some point in your career, you might be at the unfortunate end of a professional crisis. Let’s say you accidentally sent out a mass email. Or worse, you committed the ultimate career suicide and hooked up with your boss. Whether it be a small or large faux pas, here are 6 damage control tips from two PR pros:

Say something

The first 48 hours of a crisis is critical.  To ensure you remain in control of how the story is told, first acknowledge the situation. Next, you’ll start taking the necessary steps to shape the outcome.

Create a strong response in firm & clear language

Using weak words or phrases such as ‘maybe’ and ‘just’ strip your authority and make you seem powerless. Many speech experts recommend eliminating those words from your vocabulary altogether. Replace these phrases with ‘I think’, ‘I believe’, and ‘I feel’. For even stronger options use ‘I’m confident’, ‘I’m convinced’, and ‘I expect’.

Build consensus among natural allies & potential rivals

You may have to dig but in every situation, there are at least a handful of things everyone can agree on. Find those few things and use them as a tool to bring people to your side.

Drive the story

There’s always an information vacuum  surrounding every story. Fill it or it will be filled for you. Set the record straight by addressing misinformed parties of your side of the story.

Don’t lie or “spin” the truth

There’s nothing is worse than being caught in a lie. Most people have a short memory, and can be pretty forgiving if you are open and honest. Share as much information as possible to demonstrate credibility.

Have a Plan

Be prepared to communicate quickly over all forms of social and traditional media. If you usually find yourself lost for words, jot down a few talking points. This will make it easier to get your point across in a clear and concise way in high-stress situations. Have pre-developed answers to awkward questions will show that you are grace under pressure. Hesitation is death.

About the authors

Joy Lammie is a crisis communications expert with more than 6 years of experience in the Washington, DC social and political scene. Michael Hardaway is a crisis communications advisor who guides professional athletes, policymakers, and corporate leaders.

Michael Hardaway

“There’s nothing worse than being caught in a lie.”

Head to Falls Church This Weekend

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A small historical city just outside of Washington, DC, Falls Church is a short metro ride away from a leisurely weekend getaway. 

Take a trip to an old Farmhouse and stay for tea. Or drink your way through the city with a stop at Mad Fox Brewery. If you’re looking for to hang like a local, check out their popular strip mall for shopping and food, then spend the night dancing away at an old theater.  

Visit Cherry Hill Farmhouse

Predating the Revolutionary War, Cherry Hill Farmhouse is one of the oldest historical landmarks in Falls Church. After being restored for the bicentennial of the United States in 1976, it has become a popular destination for history buffs and city explorers.

Take a guided tour of the farmhouse from Monday to Thursday and experience what life was like in a mid-19th-century. 

Visit: 312 Park Ave, Falls Church, VA 22046 | (703) 248-5171 | Website

Tinner Hill

path-tinner-hill-falls-church-virginia

Tinner Hill Park

Continue your trip through time with a stop at Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation. The area opened in 1997 to commemorate the civil rights history of Falls Church. With three distinct locations, their mission is to spread awareness to African American contributions in the development of Falls Church.

Visit the Tinner Hill Arch, a 14-foot tall monument made out of pink granite that was quarried from the base of the hill. Not only is the monument a spectacular representation of architecture, but it was built to honor the men and women who formed the first rural branch of the NAACP. The various plaques places around the stone structure tell the story of the struggle for civil rights, as well as the story of the arches builders.

Visit: Tinner Hill, Falls Church, VA 22046 |  (703) 241-4109 | Website

Go on a Walking Tour

Explore the six stops along the Civil War Trail located in Falls Church. Each stop represents a significant event from the Civil War, like a raid, the Falls Church home front, and a historic cemetery.  

Finish your trip back in time with a walking tour of Victorian buildings dating back to the late 1800s.

See a show at the State Theater

For something more modern, check out the State Theater for live music and food. Initially built in 1936, this theater screened movies until the late 1980s when it was transformed into the music venue and restaurant is it today. It still holds its original 200 balcony seats and two lobbies. Dance the night away to retro classics, reggae, and Latin fusion while feasting on nachos, savory pulled pork sandwiches or decadent chocolate layer cake.

Dance the night away to retro classics, reggae, and Latin fusion while feasting on nachos, savory pulled pork sandwiches or decadent chocolate layer cake.

Visit: 220 N Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046 | (703) 237-0300 | Website

Drink at Mad Fox Brewery

If you are only visiting Falls Church for the day and history isn’t your cup of tea, try a beer at Mad Fox Brewery.

Open daily, this brewery produces its own brews on-site from local seasonal ingredients based on drinks from Euro gastropubs.

Beers range from a German-style golden ale with a light fruity essence to a subtly herbal American-style IPA.

Every visit is unique with the opportunity to pair different beers with new and flavorful dishes, such as artisanal pizzas, juicy burgers, and light salads. Don’t forget to fill up a growler of your favorite brew to share with your friends at home or to keep all to yourself for an end of the week treat.

Visit: 444 West Broad Street, Falls Church, VA 22046 | 703-942-6840 Website

Eat at the Sweetwater Tavern

To continue the impromptu pub crawl, try Sweetwater Tavern next.

It’s a cowboy-themed microbrewery serving their own brand of freshly brewed beer. Joe’s Handcrafted Beer is fresh and crisp and served straight from the tap with a constantly rotating schedule throughout the year so there is always something new to taste.

Their regulars on tap are the Great American Restaurant Pale Ale and the Naked River Light. 

Of course, you can’t leave without tasting the hearty southwestern inspired food, from baby back ribs and pork chops to crispy fish tacos and fajitas.

Visit: 3066 Gate House Plaza, Falls Church, VA 22042 | (703) 645-8100 |  Website

Get lost in Eden Center

For a shopping adventure, check out the Eden Center, a Vietnamese American strip mall full of restaurants and assorted shops, and the number one tourist attraction in the city.

With over 120 places to see, you can grab pho at one shop then head to another and for stir-fry. 

If you decide to visit during one of the two festivals the center holds during the year, you will experience a colorful display of performers, dragon dancing, and fireworks. What a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture without having to leave the country.

Visit: 6751 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044 | (703) 204-4600 | Website

Riley Londres

Office Flu Season: Stay Healthy With These Natural Remedies

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It’s the time of year for colds, flu, and other common illnesses that come with cramped spaces and cold weather.

The office is a virtual breeding ground for disease as more and more of your colleagues choose to power through the workweek while sick. To make things worse, cold weather can wreak havoc on your immune system.

Add our holiday festivities to the mix and it’s no wonder we’re susceptible to cold and flu season. From Halloween through the New Year, we consume in excess sugar compared to the rest of the year.

Candy, chocolate, baked goods, and alcohol can weaken our immune system, compromising the functionality of the cells that work to defend against bacteria and infections. This ultimately increasing the chances of sickness. 

Getting enough rest, physical activity, and remaining hydrated is always great practice to improve our energy and health. And thankfully, Mother Nature also has a great supply of remedies readily at our disposal.

Looking to stay healthy this flu season? Here are 5 foods to incorporate into your diet to help you feel your best for the rest of winter:

Natural Remedy #1 Apple Cider Vinegar

Though it has a strong flavor, Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV) is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand. It is an alkalizing food, so it is perfect to ward off illnesses. This is because disease cannot grow in an alkaline environment. (Though it does create an acidic environment for germs).

ACV has antibiotic properties and can suppress bacteria and infections in your system, helping you feel better faster. Whether you have a stomach ache, sore throat, or need a warm drink to warm your system, ACV is a go-to multi-purpose resource. (Quick tip: the flavor is strong. Make it a more palatable drink by mixing 1 tablespoon ACV with lemon and honey in hot water).

Natural Remedy #2 Lemon

Just like ACV, lemon can help to prevent or reduce the growth of microbes and infection in your body. It also contains loads of Vitamin C, which is believed to boost your immune system, making it ideal for the winter months. Also, lemon juice can actually shorten the duration of colds in your system.

Drink some with hot water (or add honey for more flavor) twice a day or add lemon juice to your meals to reap these benefits.

Natural Remedy #3 Honey

Honey is another easy, natural home remedy that you can use anytime during the year. It has antioxidants, is antiviral, and antibacterial– making it an effective way to reduce a sore throat, treat wounds, and boost your energy.

Opt for local, raw honey as most honey found in grocery stores are blended with sweeteners or corn syrup. Just remember to use a little at a time because sugars can weaken your immune system, putting you at a higher risk for illness.

Natural Remedy #4 Garlic

Garlic is truly a superfood. Not only is it great for your cholesterol, but garlic also boosts your immune system and works to ward off viruses and microbes. Just like honey, this herb is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal, and has sulfur-containing compounds, which are believed to give it its many beneficial properties.

One of these compounds, allicin, is also believed to combat free radicals (these cause diseases by killing off healthy cells and DNA) quickly, thereby promoting a healthy body. Chop up fresh garlic and add it to your meals, chew a raw clove or two each day, or take garlic tablets to get your daily dose in.

Natural Remedy #5 Ginger 

Consider adding ginger to your tea or even adding it to your soups and other dishes. Ginger is amazing at reducing inflammation and clearing congestion in the body. Full of Vitamin C, potassium, copper, and manganese, this root is also great for easing an upset stomach, reducing pain, and improving your cardiovascular system.

Catherine Miller