Wherever there is a human being, almost always emotions, feelings and reactionary attitudes come into play. As human beings, we must always improve ourselves with past experiences, by sometimes learning from the experiences of others, and other times through own experiences.
As someone who has been working on crisis communication in a number of projects with my team for years, currently , I study different kinds of experience as a concept.
We gather a lot of experience in our daily life and work life. And every experience teaches us novel ways and new things that keep us from falling into the same mistakes.
However, not every experience may return to us as a gain. Therefore, I want to differentiate between what I call abstract experience and concrete experience in terms of their effects. What I mean with concrete experience is; for a scientist, it might be the results of his experiments, for a carpenter processing wood with minimal waste or for journalists pursuing more productive news and so on. To give an example from routine life, it might be an experience of driving a car, riding a bike or cooking or other daily needs in our life.
People add a new experience to their know-how with less mistakes after each attempt.
I would like to focus on abstract experience in this article.
What I have implied with abstract experience is the consequences of the things which happen in our lives that are accompanied with dominant emotions. Sometimes, this can be a sense of excitement or panic, sometimes it is a sense of fear and even a sense of love in some cases.
The emotion we are most concerned with here is a sense of panic and anxiety which are commonly felt in online crises.
Of course, We cannot ignore that people are gaining know-how from their abstract experiences such as the aforementioned circumstances. But, there are certain elements that prevents people from benefiting from their experiences when they experience a similar crisis in which emotions are dominant. These elements are reflexes and panic.
Even if they had experienced similar crises before, it is very arduous for anyone to manage online crises with common sense when they face new crises.
Somehow, people make the same mistakes or blunders in similar crises though they have some background experience. For instance, if you compare the ratio between making the same mistakes in moments of anger while working in the same workplace, you will clearly see that the negative effects of emotions in your abstract experiences are incredibly higher then concrete experiences.
Then how can we manage our online crises?
Specifically in the case of politicians and even government officials, though all are very capable people, in times of online crisis they frequently make the same mistakes as far as I have observed in my life.
And the reason is always the same.
They behave impulsive with their reflexes and emotions and do not use their experiences although they had faced the same before.
Let us now change the question to,
How can people utilize their already acquired abstract experiences in similar future crises?
This question can be asked to psychologists, since controllin and managing emotions generally falls within the field of psychology.
There is a very simple answer to our questions. The answer: to review your past reports for each online crisis before intervening with a new crisis and again reviewing your past experiences occasionally. Not to act impulsively.
You should then create an IFTTT ( If This Then That ) analysis from your past experiences.
Do not act on any new online crisis before conducting an IFTTT analysis of past crises. The reason for this analysis and review is the big possibility of neglecting pre-acquired experiences when you feel a massive sense of excitement or panic. And don’t forget that most online crises have similar characteristics and crisis management methodology.
If we look at the case from another angle, if you are really could not get rid of the emotional effect on you that permeates your experience during an online crisis, then you need professional support and consultancy. Because it will be a healthier decision to manage your crises with a person who is not affected by the crisis.