I’ve had more potential clients than real clients in my slowly-growing media consultancy gig. But what is more frustrating is what keeps getting in the way.

One state agency wanted to train a bunch of folks a few years back. The nature of their jobs created some real headaches when it came to defending their actions and protocols. I pitched a program tailored to their needs, and off we went.

My only problem at that time was my continued employment in television news.

What I needed was a solid firewall. Someone else who would bankroll the training, preventing any real conflict-of-interest charges. We found it, in a private foundation grant. (Bear in mind that I only did seminar work geared toward prevention at that time, and was not a resource for people looking for real-time crisis messaging.)

Then “bad headline #1″ hit the papers, and the agency was too busy with damage control to consider damage mitigation training.

Months later, we were ready to go again, and actually had a contract drafted that fit all of the applicable criteria. I never did get the signed fax back, and I found out why the next morning, when “headline #2″ splashed across the front page.

Again, too much heat to consider working it then and there. The client did not want to be seen spending money on image and reputation management.

Finally, we got everything worked out again. I was free of any possible conflicts, and actually had a couple of new seminar options available that would have helped this agency’s employees immensely. Who knew that one week later the agency would be sanctioned by a judge, and the director (with whom I had dealt) forced into an early retirement???

For a lot of people, “crisis management training” is this iffy insurance policy. There really is no tangible guarantee it will make anything better. (Other than the word of every person whose ever faced a pack of cameras, and felt more confident because of the prep work.) It’s just frustrating when the very people who need the training the most are the ones whose lack of training gets in the way of getting it.