In today’s reality-TV, social media connected, 24/7 news reported, text-ready, always-on world, it can feel like everybody’s watching everyone else all the time.
In a crisis scenario, people are watching you, your company, and your employees. Your professional reputation is under a microscope and the pressure is intense. It's what you do next that matters.
Your organization should have only one or two key individuals who may speak to the media and respond to customers, community leaders, government officials and employees during a critical situation. A good spokesperson may be the president, owner, designated media spokesperson or another trusted individual. Only these individuals should take and respond to media and other crisis-related inquiries. Once these individuals are identified, communicate this information to all employees and board members (and volunteers if you’re a nonprofit) so everyone knows how to direct crisis questions that come from outside the organization.
Once these people are identified, they should be properly trained how to communicate during a crisis BEFORE a crisis hits. Yes, it takes training and practice – especially when you’re dealing with the media. It’s not easy speaking to a reporter when the pressure is on. They are trained to ask tough, probing questions. It can be very uncomfortable communicating bad news to a vendor or your biggest customer or your employees.
It’s something every executive should think through and then take steps to be ready. If you’re lucky, you’ll never need your crisis communications plan.
In this instance, the motto “Be prepared” is very good advice.
We've created a free Crisis Communications Cheat Sheet to help you get started. You can download it here. To learn more about our training solutions, please visit http://bizcommunicationstraining.com.