Wow. Our world has changed dramatically in just a few months. Our daily routines have turned upside down and life as we knew it is in some ways a distant memory.

There’s truly a balancing act at play right now, especially as places of business start to re-open. Public relations and how you’re communicating with your audiences is more important than ever.

What messages are you sending your customers and other stakeholders? How are you ensuring that they will be safe eating in your restaurant, watching a movie in your theater, or worshiping in your church? Are you ready if an outbreak occurs as a result of a gathering in your business? Do you have a crisis communications plan ready? The economy is hurting and you’re ready to start making money again. But if you do so without solid PR plans in place, your efforts will backfire and you will have a larger setback than you’ve already had.

I’ve been in the PR industry for nearly 20 years and have seen various crises play out during that time frame, but not one so extensive as this one. I describe it as a crisis with many tentacles that have taken us and rocked us to our core. From a public relations standpoint, I believe there are lessons to be learned that future generations will scrutinize for years to come. Everyone has been shaken. Either they’ve had the virus, had a loved one with the virus (me), has lost their job, or is worried about the prospect of losing their job or watching the business they built with sweat, blood, and tears slowly dissipate because of this pandemic.

Be prudent about how you communicate right now. Take time to carefully think about your messages and actions and how they will be received on the other end. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a second to destroy it.