In the Hot Seat: Leading Through Public Scrutiny

This class will be held from 10am - 3pm at the School Of Government.

In today’s divisive arena, leading and governing is hard work. You live and work in the fishbowl of public life. And with the variety of media platforms, people from around the world can now observe and criticize almost anything you say and do.

Local elected officials are often the most accessible representatives of any of our levels of government. It’s becoming more commonplace for you to bear the brunt of anger and frustration about any issue that disrupts your constituents’ sense of safety and security. Whether it’s a sewer leak, a school lockdown, or a global event, concerned -- and sometimes angry -- constituents know where you live, where you work, and perhaps even where you buy your groceries. 

This easy access can often be unsettling or even overtly threatening. As a public official, how do you stay calm and manage your messaging in these kinds of high risk situations?    

Participants in this workshop will learn:

  • Ways to express empathy and understanding in challenging situations
  • Crisis communications best practices
  • How to respond to questions you’re not allowed to answer
  • Techniques for diffusing tense exchanges.
  • Understanding where people may and may not record your activity and what to do when someone with a camera crosses the line.

Knowing the right words to say at the proper time and having the personal skills to manage inflammatory situations can help you be a more effective local elected official.  

Our instructor is a media law attorney and crisis communication expert who has worked at every level and in every branch of government. His entertaining and engaging session will keep you interested, and you’ll come away with many practical tips.

  • Chapel Hill, NC
    October 30

    Chapel Hill, NC
    View Cancellation Policy
    Course participants who cancel their registration on or before October 22, 2024 will receive a full refund. No refund will be made for cancellations on or after October 23, 2024, but you will receive a transferrable credit to be used within 12 months. Click here to view the School’s full cancellation and refund policy.
    Registration and payment for this course grants access for a single attendee. In order to register a group of attendees, please register each person individually. If you have questions, please contact our registration office at or 919.966.4414.
There are no materials avaliable for this course at this time.
For all registration questions, resetting passwords, or login issues please contact:

Dale Zuckert

Assistant Registrar
For questions regarding course details, including location, schedule, materials, and continuing education credits, please contact:

Leslie Rich

Program Associate; Management, Administration, and Leadership Group
Manager of Elected Official Programming, Center for Public Leadership and Governance
Adjunct Professor