Ray Pons is a Senior Communications Specialist at Grassroots Public Affairs and is based in Toronto. Ray can be contacted at ray@grassrootspa.ca.


Crisis communications are highly emotional. It is a crisis after all. And if, as is often the case, the communication platform is “public speaking” emotional concerns and flat-out fears kick in big time. Fear of the crisis itself, in combination with an innate fear of public speaking, can create a messy mish-mash of the speaker’s mindset resulting in a confusing, rambling message.

The entire experience often becomes overwhelming. Many noble, well-intentioned and intelligent people lose emotional control and are unable to stay focused. Your passion, rage, fury, fears and frustrations can easily get the better of you and your message becomes incoherent damaging both your professional and personal reputation.

The solution depends on your skill to gain, or re-gain, and then resiliently maintain the first of Grassroots’ 3 C’s: Clarity.

Clarity demands that you narrow the focus of all that’s going on inside your head and your heart.

Quiet the white noise. Become fully aware and determine exactly what you must say. Strategically focus on how best to say it. Calculate where and when the delivery will be presented.  

What follows is a simple (not easy) 3 step process that will give you a “slight-edge principle” to trim-tab and be in better control when you need it most.  

  1. Think.
  2. Focus.
  3. Act.

Think

Emotional acknowledgement is the first stage of emotional management (control of self). Answer these 3 questions in depth and with probative accuracy:

  1. What exactly is your deepest concern?
  2. Why?
  3. What must you do to maintain control of F.U.D.S. (Fears, Uncertainties, Doubts, Suspicions)?

Focus

Identify 2 polar-opposite possible outcomes:

  1. What is the worst that can happen?
  2. What is the best that can happen?

Strategically focus on the negatives which must be avoided or diminished, as well as the positives you wish to bring about.

With the very best and the very worst, properly established in your mindset you are better equipped to accurately determine the attributes you must manifest to handle your present crisis. Many strong leaders find it helpful to role-model crisis leaders whom they consider impressive. For me, those leaders include Winston Churchill, WWII; Ghandi, emancipation of India; JFK, Cuban missile crisis. Or business crisis leaders; the likes of Lee Iacocca, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Who are the powerhouse people you admire? Study them, emulate their characteristics of communications to keep you on track, maintain focus.

Act

Think some, focus some, but then by God do something! Execute! 

Crisis tends to get worse not better under dithering leadership. For certain it is valid that analytical thinking, and pondering the enormously wide range of possibilities, are essential to make prudent decisions. But there is also truth to the saying “paralysis through analysis.”

There is rarely sufficient certainty when dealing with any crisis to identify THE solution, the ONE correct decision. Usually it’s about making A decision and having the strength of will to execute on that decision.

Also, be armed with a readiness to pivot, to adapt and face reality of whether the plan is working or not working. Be empowered to make another decision or decisions as the situation evolves. Be strong. Follow your convictions. Trust your instincts. And ACT.

To your success!     

Photo of Catherine O'Gorman

Grassroots Public Affairs is excited to welcome Catherine O’Gorman to the team as a Campaign Support Specialist, effective immediately.

Catherine is a bilingual public policy and communications professional with an interest in public affairs and the agri-food sector. She has experience working with supranational, national, provincial and municipal governments and organizations including: the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the United Nations, the House of Commons, the City of Ottawa, and the Québec Public Service.

Catherine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Politics with Minors in French and Spanish from Carleton University, a Masters of Public and International Affairs from Glendon College, and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Strasbourg.

Catherine currently lives in Prince Edward County and works as a Communications and Community Outreach Specialist in the agri-food sector at Sprague Foods, an independent, family-run Canadian cannery.

Contact Catherine:

An annual snapshot of public opinion about Canadian agriculture and food.


As enthusiastic advocates for the Canadian Agri-Food sector, Grassroots Public Affairs is pleased to release our second annual agriculture and food research public opinion poll.

Our approach for 2020 includes COVID-19 pandemic-related food questions, as well as repeated questions from 2019 so we can measure any change in public opinion. Key findings for this year’s research include:

  • 64% of Canadians believe that hunger and food insecurity will worsen in future as a result of COVID-19. –
  • 97% of Canadians trust the quality of food grown or produced domestically – an increase from 2019. –
  • 92% of Canadians endorse government support for the agriculture and agri-food sector. –
  • 62% of Canadians believe that temporary foreign workers should continue to come into Canada. –
  • 87% of Canadians believe that agriculture and agri-food is a leading economic driver in Canada, identifying the sector as the most economically important industry surveyed. –
  • 86% of Canadians believe that agriculture and agri-food plays a key role in Canada’s national security and critical infrastructure, with the sector coming second only to healthcare in terms of importance.

Other key findings include:

  • Across the country more than one-in-six saying they have worked on a farm, in agriculture or in food processing. –
  • Canadians are more likely to grocery shop themselves as opposed to ordering-in, grabbing takeaway or using a grocery delivery service due to COVID-19. –
  • Canadians continue to hold overwhelmingly negative views towards food additives such hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs. –
  • The future of Canadian agriculture looks positive with a strong plurality believing that the industry is likely to grow as opposed to shrink or stay the same as it is today. –
  • Canadians continue to believe that the federal government should prioritize financial support for grains over livestock but support for proteins has increased in the past year.

Special thanks to Food Banks Canada for their participation.

You can read coverage of our poll findings by Bernard Tobin of Real Agriculture here.

We invite you to download and share the ‘Greenhouse’:

Grassroots-Greenhouse-Agriculture-Poll-Findings-May-1st-compresed

For customized presentations on the findings please contact us by email at info@grassrootspa.ca

Stay safe and healthy,

Peter Seemann, President
905-716-3000

Chris Gray

Grassroots Public Affairs is excited to welcome Senior Consultant Chris Gray to the team, effective immediately.

Located in Ottawa, Chris will head up federal advocacy for Grassroots’ clientele.

Recognized by The Hill Times as one of the top 100 lobbyists in Canada, Chris has worked in government and public affairs for 20 years.  His career started on Parliament Hill working for MPs and a Cabinet Minister, before moving to the private sector with organizations including The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and The Heart & Stroke Foundation. Chris has a proven track record of successfully advocating for changes to legislation and policy, and securing funding for organizations.

Chris is a native of Prince Edward Island and a graduate of Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Chris currently serves on the board of the Vimy Foundation.

Contact Chris: