How to avoid the ‘PR naughty chair’

Although there can be gray areas in communications, there are some definite taboos when managing clients and the media. Etiquette is important. Here are a few rules to adopt.

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Many PR pros are familiar with some version of a “time-out chair.”

Made popular by the reality television show “Supernanny,” parents used the “naughty chair”—under the guidance of expert child-wrangler Jo Frost—to get misbehaving children to calm down.

After sitting in the punitive chair for a certain period of time, the child in question would apologize, get a hug and kiss from mom or dad and move forward.

PR pros often find ourselves in need of a “PR naughty chair” for clients. If only it were that easy. So, what does it take to land in one? Here are a few infractions we wish we could call a timeout over:

For crying out loud . It’s rarely OK to fly off the handle—especially in public. As police officers often warn: “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” PR and media relations are a small world, so when in doubt, take a deep breath and keep your trap shut. Better yet, have your PR spokesperson do the finessing.

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