fear busting

Communicators, Reputation Managers, …Fear Busters

August 21, 2019

Critical takeaway

  • One of the first services Kith provides to any client is fear-busting: helping acknowledge and overcome their fears. Once fear is out of the way, we can all get to work on the real problem.


A typical call to Kith begins one of three ways.


“We just learned from our operations team that [terrible event] just happened. We expect phone calls from the media in the next few hours. We’ve never had to deal with something like this and aren’t ready. Can you help?.” 


These are people who are afraid of what is happening and are looking for help.


“We’re doing some risk mapping and have identified several areas of concern. We’d like your help to understand these issues properly so that we can be better prepared if a crisis arises.” 


These are folks who have a fear of what might happen and want to prepare for it.


“As you may have seen in the news, we’re in a bit of a difficult position. We’ve faced hard times before, but we aren’t able to get our arms around things this time. Our CEO wants someone to help find a path out of this situation.” 


These are people who are afraid of the unknown.


These don’t represent all of the calls that we get at Kith, but it’s a good representation of the calls which need urgent action. And the thing that makes these urgent is the feeling of fear: in each case, the people calling us are afraid. Afraid of what is happening, fearful of what could happen, or aren’t really sure what is happening and fear this uncertainty.


The first thing we always do is offer reassurance. Not that everything will be OK (sadly, that’s not guaranteed) but that it’s OK to be worried. These are unusual, stressful situations, so fear is normal.


The second thing we do is explain how fear prevents action, so we need to help them overcome this as quickly as possible so we can start to address their issue, whatever it is. 


Although we don’t advertise ourselves as such, one of the first services we provide to any client is fear-busting. We acknowledge the fear (“I still get nervous in these situations – it’s normal”), but we help move beyond that as quickly as possible. 


Once fear is out of the way, we can all get to work.


Since we’ve built our careers at Kith around crises, we have been habituated not to have the same fear of these situations. This helps us, and in turn our clients, get beyond fear more easily. Moreover, we also know that there are standard practices and tactics to help manage most scenarios, and we can spot those because of our good pattern recognition. This helps us move clients past their fear and on to action.


So while it’s absolutely normal to be fearful in an unusual situation, especially in a stressful critical moment, you cannot act until that fear is out of the way. We help clients bust this fear, clear their heads, and focus on resolving the situation that they are dealing with.


Although we are all communicators at heart, and reputation managers by profession, Kith’s day-to-day work always starts with some fear busting. So the next time you find yourself facing something fearful, give us a call.


Filed under: Blog


Bill is a reputation management, crisis communications and professional development expert, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal Risk & Compliance panelist, and best-selling author of Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management. He has more than 25 years of global experience managing high-stakes crises, issues management, and media relations challenges for both Fortune 500 companies and winning global political campaigns.