Written by Louise Veitch

Mercury has been in a retrograde. For those who take the star alignments seriously, this will mean chaos and a time when life refuses to go to plan. If you’ve been sacked, dumped, evicted or you left your laptop on the tube, blame Mercury.

Primarily, and non-believers should take note, communication lines are a retrograde’s first target. Internal emails sent to wrong inboxes, inaccessible social media platforms or, heaven forbid, HipChat gets hacked, anything is possible.

Whoever said ‘preparation is the key to success’ has never been subject to Mercury’s wrath. So forget the prep, planning won’t save you now. Instead, let’s talk about what to do when the worst happens.

Don’t bury it.

All press is not good press, but negative coverage happens. Closing your eyes doesn’t mean people can’t see you and ignoring the problem doesn’t mean it’s not there. Be up-front, honest and acknowledge the issue. The news is better coming from you, so come to the table with the problem and show you’re taking the appropriate action. Just ask the CEO of United Airlines.

Contingency.

Your idea was spot on, your campaign faultless but the media didn’t go for it. You’re not a one-trick pony. Have a flexible approach with your content, take the message and recast replay and retell your story. If it didn’t work first time, could you use breaking news to turn your article into a comment? Speak to your media contacts and make it work.

Learn.

Don’t let Mercury get you down. She’s out to teach you a lesson, so learn from it. If the interview was a train wreck; it’s time for media training! Was there something you missed? Find it next time! Could you have done anything differently? You’ll either develop your communications skills or learn to never leave the house in a retrograde again.

Things don’t go to plan, mistakes happen, but turning a disaster into something positive is impressive, essential and an opportunity to prove yourself when the worst (Mercury) happens.

And here’s a cheery note: as of this week, Mercury is officially out of retrograde. Phew!

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