Written by Smoak PR

Handling Mistakes with Grace

Have you ever had one of those days where just about everything went wrong? You missed a deadline, forgot to attend a meeting or followed up with the wrong reporter? When this happens, you feel like there’s no recovering and it’s all down-hill from here… but it’s not. Recently, I’ve realized that it’s not necessarily about the actual mistakes, but rather, how we handle them. In Public Relations, it is all about how you handle and present yourself to others. Mistakes are inevitable. They’re a part of life and they happen to everyone. I understand that it is easier said than done, but how exactly do we handle our mistakes in a professional manner?


  1. Take Ownership
    1. Don’t be the person that cannot admit to your wrongdoing. It makes the problem much worse when you try to cover it up. Be honest. Be the bigger person. Admitting your mistakes also adds to your credibility. In this industry, clients are our top priority and we would never do anything to compromise our relationships with them. If you make a mistake, let your client know immediately. While the mistake may not please your client, being honest will build goodwill with them in the long run.
  2. Be Honest
    1. Once you admit your mistake, be completely honest about it. Don’t tell “half the truth.” I’m guilty of this myself. There have been multiple times when I’ve left certain parts out of the story and said, “I technically didn’t lie, I just chose not to mention that part.” It’s easier to go ahead and say exactly what happened, and then you can move on. Also, if you don’t tell the truth, your team won’t know how to help you with the situation. Let them know what is going on and allow them to help you during this time.
  3. Learn and Change
    1. “Learn from you mistakes.” I’m sure this has been engrained into our brains at some point in time. But what they say is true: we learn from our mistakes and they help us grow. Although this may sound cheesy, how else are we supposed to learn? We learn just as much by knowing how to do something as we know how not to do something. Really understand why you made the mistake. What were the present circumstances? Were you having a bad day? Did you not sleep well the night before? Don’t just think about what happened, but why it happened and make a change.

It’s been established that mistakes happen to all of us and there is no way to avoid them. We must understand how to handle them professionally and carry ourselves afterwards, especially in a business that is built upon relationships. Admit you made a mistake, be completely honest and learn from it.  Simply remember that we can’t always avoid mistakes, but we do have the ability to handle them with poise.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *