Some moments in our lives last forever imprinted in detail in our mind. These are the moments that we can describe the sounds, smells and sights. We can feel as though we are there or that it was a day ago when in fact it was months or even years ago. In an instant we can be transported back there.
I had that experience this week when I read the news of the sentencing of the man in relation to the Manchester Arena terror attack. I refuse to write his name for the same reason that Jacinda Ardern refused to use the name of the New Zealand terrorist last year. But more than three years after the horrific attack happened I was stood peacefully in a field when I was back to the moment I found out about it. As I took in the details of what had happened, the lengthy sentence, I cried. The emotion of those days in May 2017 overcame me.
This is the reality for many who work in PR and communication. There are the moments in your life when what you do pushes you to the edge. But it really matters and the decisions you make can help people. This is the side of PR and communication that many ignore, downgrade or try to dismiss. This is the side of PR and communication that exists and will be happening every day somewhere.
Despite the pressure that this puts on individuals, it is still the reason why I am passionate about PR and communication. This is why I worked in the public sector for more than 20 years and is why I am now trying to use the knowledge I have to help other businesses and communicators when they face the worst moments.
In 2020 there are many communicators who have been through difficult, challenging and at times upsetting moments. They have had to do things that they would have never expected just six months ago. For some the experiences they have had will live with them for many years, or possibly forever. I can only say to anyone finding things difficult that they need to be kind to themselves. Give yourself some time to mentally process what has happened. Take any help that is offered and find someone you can talk to. Try to focus on how the work you have done has helped others and the comfort and support that you brought in the darkest moments.
PR and communication is more than the stereotype of spin or champagne drinking parties. At its best it helps people, brings communities together and even saves lives. Remember that when your work is being criticised or there is another negative headline about the cost of PR.
My thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of those that died, were injured or were affected by the Arena attack.