Arguably, nothing is more important to conducting effective PR than good judgment.

Whether your organization is involved in a potentially controversial messaging campaign, or simply trying to raise awareness, the need for excellent judgment touches all aspects.

Let’s explore just a few elements of PR requiring good judgment.

When you speak publicly, your or your organization’s credibility is on the line. Developing credibility takes time, but it can be lost in an instant.

Credibility stems from being an informed expert. So, know your stuff. Know it backwards and forwards. Details matter: They are fully worthy of obsessing about. And, of course, details are apt to change.

One of the keys to good judgment is self-awareness. How would someone broadminded and objective describe your organization and its position? Know this, and you’ll be better suited to gauge and alter your reception from the media.

Work through all the angles of a statement—before you make it. Consider all your “constituents” and your critics before you say something. Consider your stance from multiple perspectives. Are you so fixed in your own perspective, that you’re missing something glaring? Is there a logical fallacy in your position? Can you prove what you’re saying with data or via third-party validation? Better yet: Is your position self-evident? Is what you’re saying clear? Could it be rendered crystal-clear by expressing it differently?

These are just some considerations that involve good judgment in PR.

What is sound judgment made of anyway? Perhaps it’s a type of wisdom composed of experience, awareness and advance preparation.

Without it, PR can be just plain scary.

Dave Sutton is a media strategist with Melwood Global.