Blog

The Apprentice 2.0: CIPR National Conference 2019

Written by Stella Wright, junior account executive and apprentice at Templemere PR

The Apprentice 2.0: CIPR National Conference 2019

This month, I was lucky enough to attend my second PR conference of the year – the CIPR’s National Conference.

During a lively breakout session, a room of communicators launched into a full-scale crisis ‘wargame’ simulation. In small groups, we were given the identity of head of communications at a tech firm which experiences a breach of data.

My key learnings from this fun (but oddly stressful) session were:

  • Honesty and transparency is vital in a PR crisis. The more an organisation tries to cover something up, the more likely that speculation and rumours will spread – which could actually be worse than the truth.
  • A crisis communications plan is imperative. In this simulation, we had to act very quickly with no agreed process in place, making every move risky. Having the right team to handle the situation will make all the difference.
  • Act quickly – but not too quickly. Timing is important, but apologising for a situation which you don’t yet fully understand can come back to bite you later.

In the afternoon I took part in an equally engaging discussion on the topic of mental health. This has been a huge trending topic in 2019, with a PRWeek and PRCA study showing 60% of PR professionals have suffered from mental health illnesses.

The session, led by the CIPR Health group, explored how to use tools such as mindfulness to tackle stress in both the workplace and personal life. We were even asked to part with our mobile phones for the session – not an easy thing for a person in PR to do.

The correlation between overuse of technology and mental health was a key theme throughout the CIPR National Conference, with Dr Lawrence Ampofo (founder of Digital Mindfulness) touching on the ‘digital detox’ trend, while also detailing some positive uses of technology, designed to improve mental wellbeing.

It’s fair to say all PR teams rely on technology and without it our jobs would be a lot harder. But as technology advances rapidly, being informed of the dangers and challenges it may bring is the responsibility of us all.

Blog