I’m at the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society annual meeting in Green Lake, Wisc. I’m listening to Gerard Braud deliver a session in the Media Relations track called “Profit form Communications.”

He started out with a list of things communications professionals can and should bring to the table, if they want the proverbial “seat at the table.”

    Media Training – When doctors say everything they know in an interview, you never know what message will come through in the story. That’s why it’s important to do media training so the key messages get through to the audience.

    Crisis Communications Plan – Gerard showed some really bad examples of crisis communications plans with no calling trees and no detail. He also said that when hospitals do disaster drills they should rent a mob of reporters to show up at the ER and also have people posing as family members of accident victims calling to jam the switchboard, because in a real disaster those things would happen. PR professionals should have the crisis plan with an exact “what to do, step by step” in a three-ring binder.

    Presentation Training – You never know who might be in a presentation and blogging about it (including me!) Doctors who go to medical meetings should be aware of this, and communications professionals should take the lead in getting them prepared.

    Ambassador Training – Techniques and tools to change the direction of an awkward conversation.

He showed a great piece he had edited of Mayor Ray Nagin and his “chocolate” remarks on Martin Luther King Day, as an example of his principle: “If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money, or would you lose money?” Ray Nagin lost money for New Orleans.

Gerard gave a strong presentation. I’ve been a co-presenter with him at previous conferences, but never had attended one of his sessions because of conflicts. I’m glad I got to hear him. You can contact him at gerard@braudcommunications.com, or through his blog.

More on WHPRMS, our experience getting to Heidel House Resort and our lack of phone access in a later post.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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