There are at least two immediate benefits to this exercise: In some cases, of course, you know a crisis will occur because you’re planning to create it — e.g., to lay off employees, or to make a major acquisition.
Experience demonstrates that organizational leadership often does not understand that in the absence of adequate internal and external communications: The basic steps of effective crisis communications are not difficult, but they require advance work in order to minimize damage.
So if you’re serious about crisis preparedness and response, read and implement these 10 steps of crisis communications, the first seven of which can and should be undertaken before any crisis occurs. Anticipate Crises If you’re being proactive and preparing for crises, gather your Crisis Communications Team for intensive brainstorming sessions on all the potential crises that could occur at your organization.
It’s your responsibility to minimize the chance of that happening.
Spokesperson training teaches you to be prepared, to be ready to respond in a way that optimizes the response of all stakeholders.5.
They didn’t learn, in advance, the critical differences between proactive PR, which focuses on promoting your organization, and crisis communications, which focuses on preserving your organization.
All stakeholders, internal and external, are just as capable of misunderstanding or misinterpreting information about your organization as the media.And sometimes, the team also needs to include those with special knowledge related to the current crisis, e.g., subject-specific experts. Historically, I used to have to do a lot of arm-wresting with attorneys over strategy and messaging.They were focused strictly on the court of law and, of course, a crisis manager is focused primarily on the court of public opinion.The decision about who should speak is made after a crisis breaks – but the pool of potential spokespersons should be identified and trained in advance.Not only are spokespersons needed for media communications, but for all types and forms of communications, internal and external.Identify Your Crisis Communications Team A small team of senior executives should be identified to serve as your organization’s Crisis Communications Team.Ideally, the organization’s CEO will lead the team, with the firm’s top public relations executive and legal counsel as his or her chief advisers.Many of us have several phone numbers, more than one email address, and can receive SMS (text) messages or faxes.Instant Messenger programs, either public or proprietary, are also very popular for business and personal use.If your in-house PR executive does not have sufficient crisis communications expertise, he or she may choose to retain an agency or independent consultant with that specialty.Other team members are typically the heads of your major organizational divisions, as any situation that rises to the level of being a crisis will affect your entire organization.