Crisis Communications Tip: Mind the Gap

Today’s crisis communications tip is to Mind the Gap. There is a gap of time between the flashpoint of your crisis and the time in which your first crisis news release statement is released to the world. You need to communicate the truth. If you fail to do so, you create a Truth Gap.

If you’ve been to the London subway, you’ve seen signs that say, “Mind the Gap.” There is a gap between the subway station platform and the subway train door. If you don’t “mind the gap” you will step into a gap that will injure or kill you. In crisis communications, if you don’t mind the gap, you will injure or kill your revenue, reputation, and brand.

My challenge to you is to close the gap in your crisis communications process in order to release a statement to the media, your employees, and your other key stakeholders much faster than ever before.

In a previous blog, we talked about how the SituationHub.com crisis communications software application can transform the Crisis Communications Golden Hour into Golden Minutes.

Social media has made the gap in crisis communications worse because Twitter and Facebook Live are telling the story in the first minute, while most companies take three or more hours before they release a statement to the media, their employees, and other key stakeholders.

Close the Gap

The three best ways to close the gap include:

  1. Write a crisis communications plan that dictates speed.
  2. Use the SituationHub.com app to write news releases in 3-5 minutes or have a library of pre-written news release statements as Microsoft Word documents.
  3. Hold regular crisis communications drills to test your plan, your process, and your people.

Regarding #1, most crisis communications plans only outline a list of tasks to be done. Very few light a fire under anyone’s butt. Your plan needs to light that fire. Speed is king.

One secret to speed is for your plan to outline how you can release small bits of information a little at a time.

You don’t need to know everything before you say anything.

As long as you are accurate and you do not speculate, a little information is better than no information and it is better than waiting until you know everything. Simply close the statement by saying,

Members of our team are gathering additional information and we will share that information with you as soon as possible.

Regarding #2, most crisis communications plans have holding statements. I like a feature in the SituationHub app called “The First Critical Statement.” Depending upon the situation, the app will ask you 10 to 20 questions, then based on your answers it will automatically write your holding statement. It covers the basics that all reporters want to know, such as who, what, when, and where. To the delight of your lawyers, why and how are addressed in sentences that deflect speculation. And to add a cherry on top of your news release statement, lawyers and executives can pre-approve the language the day you subscribe to the app, rather than on the day of your crisis when seconds count.

At the time we are writing this, SituationHub offers 50 to 75 detailed news releases for a variety of companies, including electric companies, chemical companies, credit unions and banks, schools and universities, and general businesses. We’re told that the app will be adding government and healthcare options next.

Regarding #3, a crisis communications drill lets you make mistakes in private, so you don’t make mistakes in public. This allows you to test your plan to make sure it works as designed. You also get to test the ability of your people to follow directions and evaluate who goes “off script.” You get to test your ability to mind the gap and close the gap with pre-written news release statements. You also get to test your spokespeople in mock news conferences.

Oh, and regarding spokespeople and news conferences, the SituationHub crisis communications software also generates a written script for spokespeople to read at a news conference. The script pre-answers questions before they are asked by reporters, thereby reducing the number of questions asked during the news conference.

In conclusion, the gap is closing on you because of social media. Take steps today to mind the gap by putting tools in place on a clear sunny day, in order to be your best on your darkest day.

Here are some resources to help you on your crisis communications journey:

  • There are several good videos on the SituationHub page that show the app in action
  • Visit the BraudCast Channel on YouTube for tons of content
  • Dig through our blog for decades of content

The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

The crisis communications golden hour is all about the emphasis for companies in crisis to take bold, decisive steps in the first hour, in order to manage both the crisis and the public’s perception of the crisis.

But the crisis communications golden hour really needs to be reduced to the crisis communications golden minutes.

Have you heard about SituationHub.com? It is a new crisis communications software application that allows a company to quickly gather information about a crisis and generate a news release or crisis statement in 3 to 5 minutes.

SituationHub is a game-changer because it is the first time crisis communications can move at the speed of social media.

The flaw with the crisis communications golden hour concept is that Twitter and Facebook Live happen during the first minute of a crisis. SituationHub closes the gap because it automates the crisis communications process, and it automates the writing of a news release or crisis statement.

SituationHub has forced me to re-write my crisis communications plan template. For more than 25 years my crisis communications plans have evolved, but when one of my clients uses SituationHub, the first five chapters of my crisis communications plan becomes five sentences:

  • Log into SituationHub.com
  • Select your situation
  • Answer the questions
  • Alert your internal crisis team
  • Publish your statement for the media, employees, customers, and stakeholders

The One Hour Rule

Historically, we know that the longer it takes a company to issue a statement about a situation or crisis, the more damage that company is likely to experience to its revenue, reputation, and brand.

Historically, my crisis communications plans dictated that the user must issue a statement to the media, employees, and all stakeholders within one hour or less of the onset of the crisis going public.

That’s worked for me, but in the back of my mind I’ve been thinking, “That’s still 59 minutes after the first Tweet or Facebook post.”

The Three Hour Reality

I’ve studied crisis situations in my days as a television reporter and my second career in crisis communications. In most cases, more than three hours pass between the flashpoint of the situation and the release of the first statement. That is unacceptable!

Why is this?

  1. Most companies fail to write a proper crisis communications plan on a clear sunny day.
  2. Most companies fail to have a library of pre-written news releases for their crisis events. Hence, valuable time is lost writing a first draft statement, then having that statement marked up and edited by executives, then waiting for the second draft, then waiting for more edits, then releasing a final draft.

Hopefully, more organizations will discover SituationHub and turn the crisis communications golden hour into the crisis communications golden minutes.

Here are some resources to help you on your crisis communications journey:

Covid Crisis Communications: Sample Press Release

by Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Your COVID crisis communications plan and your COVID crisis communication pre-written news releases need to be modified immediately if your organization is being attacked over policies related to COVID-19 mask requirements or vaccine mandates.

Daily we see news reports of school boards, city councils, and county governments being attacked for their position. Likewise, companies, restaurants, bars, and retail businesses are also in crisis mode as they deal with the Delta Variant.

So what do you do?

I’ve used a crisis communications secret for decades to harness the power of a written and spoken preamble. (One of the things that I love about the SituationHub.com crisis communications app is that every crisis statement has a preamble already written and baked into the crisis news releases that the app writes.)

If you are responsible for making an opening statement in a public meeting or if you have to issue a written news release, the preamble states the organization’s 1) noble purpose and 2) goals.

For example, the president of the school board might make the following statement:

“At the Harris County School Board, our goal is to educate children in a safe and nurturing environment. Effective learning is best accomplished when we are able to have in-person learning, and when our population of both students and faculty are healthy.”

Such a preamble must also be true. You want everyone in the audience to nod their head in agreement.

Admittedly, you will never win over everyone, but your goal should be to win over two-thirds of your intended audience.

Your next sentence must state your action while using the preamble to justify your action. For example:

“In order for us to have in-person learning and in order for the learning environment to be safe for all of our students, staff and faculty, we are establishing the following requirements.”

(Example)

“All children over the age of (X) and all staff and faculty will be required to wear a mask.

All children over the age of (X) and all staff and faculty will be required to have a vaccination.”

If this were your official position, you would then be attacked by those who think masks and/or vaccinations should not be required. Your job in crisis communications is to know that such an attack represents a vulnerability that needs to be researched in advance. (See our past articles on Vulnerability Assessments and the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications. You can even watch the SituationHub.com Master Class on this topic.)

A Vulnerability Assessment will tell you what the objections are of those in opposition to your position, such as:

  • A violation of personal liberty
  • Religious exemptions
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Medical conditions

Therefore, your next statement should acknowledge those objections, in a way that allows those in opposition to nod their heads in agreement that you understand them, such as:

“We recognize that some members of our community may be opposed to this. Some people feel that this violates their personal liberties and freedoms. Some people may say it affects breathing, medical conditions, or religious beliefs. We understand this and we respect that you have strong feelings on this issue.”

Next comes your alternatives to the opposition:

“If your child is not vaccinated and if you prohibit your child from wearing a mask, you will have several options. We will offer remote learning options and parents also have the option to homeschool their children.”

Next, tie everything back to your preamble:

“Ultimately, our goal is to educate children in a safe and nurturing environment. Effective learning is best accomplished when we can have in-person learning, and when our population of both students and faculty are healthy. Health experts tell us that the two most effective tools at our disposal are masks and vaccinations.”

Now address the objections directly, while reinforcing your stand, credit third-party experts, and tie your position back to your preamble.

“We know some people may question the effectiveness of masks. We know some people may question the safety of vaccines. However, experts tell us that masking and vaccinations are the two most effective tools at our disposal. And in order to keep our children safe, experts tell us that the benefits far outweigh the risks.”

Next, dispel any beliefs in the audience that have not been addressed previously, for example:

“Some may question whether this infringes on your liberties and personal freedoms. Some may question if this is an overreach by the government or businesses. Here are examples of similar rules already in place in our society:

  • If you go to a restaurant, you’ve likely seen a sign that says, ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service.’ This is an example of the rights granted to a business, for the safety, comfort, and respect of all of the other patrons.
  • If you drive, you must wear a seat belt.
  • If you drive, you cannot be drunk.
  • If you go into an industrial facility, you must follow safety requirements, such as wearing safety glasses or perhaps a bright, reflective vest, or other safety garments and apparatuses.
  • In school, vaccination requirements already exists.

Our society is full of requirements designed to keep the vast majority of people safe. These rules are in place for the safety of each individual and the safety of society at large.”

Now, reinforce the above statement with a tie to your preamble:

“If our goal is to provide education in a safe environment for our students, we must keep them from getting COVID and we must keep them from spreading COVID to their parents and grandparents.”

Now give a real-life example of the tragedy that you wish to avoid while conveying emotion and empathy, which are critical in effective crisis communications.

“How would you feel if one of our students died from COVID? How would you feel if one of our parents died of COVID because a child brought the infection home from school? How empty would the holidays be if a grandparent had died of COVID because they received a loving hug from a child who got COVID at school?”

Now put a bow on it.

“Every decision this board makes, must always focus on two things: the education of your child and the safety of your child.”

If you structure your crisis communications statement, news release, policy, or letter in this way, every objection that you get simply requires you to retreat and repeat, i.e. retreat to a previous statement and repeat it.

As a society, I’ve never witnessed a crisis in which there are opposing points of view. For example, if a house is burning, everyone is in agreement that those inside should be rescued and that the fire should be put out.

But the reality is, we live in polarizing times where anger and outrage are weaponized, fueled by politics and social media.

  1. Identify your position.
  2. Take your stand.
  3. Write your crisis communications statement.
  4. Use your statement to defend your position and answer all objections.
  5. Stand by your stand.

If we can assist you, please contact us at gerard@braudcommunications.com

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

“Covid-19 Death Toll is Like 5 Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets Crashing Every Day:” Crisis Communications Tips to Land Analogies

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Crisis communications surrounding Covid-19 has been difficult. Why is it that you can put a medical expert in front of the media and they have difficulty landing your crisis communications message?

From a communications standpoint, it comes down to: 

  • facts
  • passion
  • outrage, and 
  • fear.

Before reading this blog further, watch the INTRO to the video which describes the disclaimer, my personal bias, and my personal goal for putting out this message:

Now, imagine if a medical expert got on television and made the impassioned plea below: (Note, the entire plea is demonstrated in today’s video for training purposes.)

“The daily death toll from Covid-19 in the United States is like five Boeing 737 Max 8 jets crashing every day and killing everyone on board.

Think about this. Governments around the world were outraged that 346 people died in two crashes of 737 Max 8 jets. Governments and airlines banned the planes from flying because 346 people died.

Yet here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, and there is no outrage when the number of people who die each day in the United States is equal to five jets crashing each day. 

The number of people who have died since the onset of the pandemic in the United States in March is equal to 750 jets crashing and killing everyone on board.

As a country, would we sit idly by if five jets crashed every day? 

As a country, would we be outraged if 750 jets fell out of the sky and killed 150,000 U.S. Citizens?

We would not stand for it.

If terrorists shot down five jets every day in the United States and killed 1,000 people, would we not declare war?

If terrorists killed 150,000 U.S. Citizens over five months, would we not mobilize every bit of energy we have as a united nation to stop them from taking one more life?

So then why is it that we are okay with letting 1,000 U.S. Citizens die every day from a disease that we can fight and stop?

So then why is it that we are okay with letting 150,000 U.S. Citizens die in five months from a disease that we can fight and stop?”  

©2020 Diversified Media, LLC

(…and scene.)

(Footnote: An Axios poll release while I am writing this says 30% of Americans believe the numbers I just used from the CDC are inflated.)

The opposing viewpoint has been effectively using the analogy that says:

“Covid-19 deaths are no different than the deaths we see every year from the common flu.”

The second analogy about the flu has stuck with about one-third of Americans, according to polls.

Here are three reasons why one side has been more successful in messaging:

  1. Medical experts are trying to sell scientific facts.
  2. Medical experts are failing to sell compelling fear or outrage.
  3. and #3 … and this is a big one… those with opposing views have done a better job of getting out front with their own analogies first.

And I’ll add this point to number 3 — Those who have been selling their analogies better, have sold them as a dismissive message to an audience that is usually motivated by fear. In other words, people who are normally motivated and inspired by fear are being told, “You have nothing to fear.”

— Now before you start wondering if this blog is motivated by my politics, the answer is no. For more than 25 years I’ve worked to share crisis communications strategies with you and this is just one more lesson.

It should be noted, that in most crises, there are not two opposing arguments. For example, when a jet crashes and kills all 200 people on board, the President, members of Congress, Governors, and elected officials are not standing in front of the media saying,

“It’s just one jet. More people die every day from the flu than died in that airplane crash.”

So no, this is not a blog that takes sides on the issue because of politics. It is a blog about how to be effective in your crisis communications.

Where did my airplane crash analogy come from? Recently on a television news program, a doctor was trying to use the analogy, but he failed to land the analogy. The doctor failed because his delivery of the analogy lacked passion, fear, and outrage.

So here are the realities as I write this on July 26, 2020:

  • Many passenger jets carry 200 people.
  • The 737 Max 8 was pulled from service after two crashes killed 346 people.
  • Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. at this point have reached daily death tolls of 1,000 people.

In conclusion:

  • Analogies are a great way to communicate.
  • Analogies that tap into fear and outrage can be more effective.
  • If you use analogies, you must sell the message with passion and outrage.
  • When your analogy is compelling, others will use it.

We’ve watched the viral spread of the analogy that Covid-19 deaths are no different than the flu. Let’s watch to see if the analogy about the airline crash takes off.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

4 Crisis Communications Considerations About Current Events

By Gerard Braud

What do you think about the riots, protests, political unrest, all during the pandemic?

Before you verbalize your answer, think not just about your answer to the question, but also the impact your answer could have on the reputation and revenue of your business. This is especially true for those of you who are in businesses that involve face to face contact with customers. While it is true that society needs to have discussions about the important issues of the day, what degree of caution should you consider in voicing a strong opinion to a customer who strikes up a conversation with you? And, what should be the guidelines for you or your employees when you consider whether it is appropriate to strike up a conversation with a customer?

Years ago, I proposed a similar question, “What do you think of the protests going on in Baltimore?” The same crisis communications principles, and this same video interview recorded with a colleague rings true years later.

Anastasia Turchetta is a Registered Dental Hygienist and host of Hump Day Happenings, a video blog for the dental industry. Here is our conversation regarding how to handle talking about such crises in the workplace:

Small business owners, such as her dental clients are faced with two situations when top news breaks. Situation one is that a customer may initiate a discussion about the controversial issues of the day. Situation two is that the business owner or their employees initiate a discussion.

This raises four questions you must consider:

1) Is this the right time and place to talk about these important issues?

2) Could the conversation result in the customer getting angry and taking their business somewhere else?

3) Is that a risk you are willing to take?

4) What advice should be given to business owners and their employees?

If an event affects your reputation and revenue, a crisis exists, in some degree. If customers elect to buy goods or services from someone else because they feel slighted by your business, then you have an emerging crisis.

In the video blog, Anastasia reminds us of what many of us were taught by our parents, which is to never talk about religion and politics.

In addition to the decision you make about having controversial conversations with your customers in person, you must also think about the personal opinions a business owner and their employees post to social media. Be especially aware of those employees who have accepted friend requests from customers.

Each employer, whenever there are hot button issues in the news, should consider what they should say to their employees face to face, as well as on social media.

If you are passionate about the issues of the day, seek out the proper venue or community group to enact change. But consider carefully how your personal opinions and those of your employees will affect your livelihood, revenue, and business.

I personally know of many case studies in which entertainers, celebrities and business owners have been put out of business and lost all they owned because of how and where they voiced their opinions. Consider what price you are willing to pay.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Cooper Baumgartner on Unsplash

Coronavirus Covid19 Crisis Communication Tip: It’s as Simple as A-B-C

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

While many companies and brands are responding and communicating about the coronavirus (Covid 19), other individuals are questioning whether coronavirus fears are being blown out of proportion.

The best crisis communications tip I can give you is as simple as A-B-C:

Always Be Communicating.

In the grand scheme, it doesn’t matter if you, personally think things are being blown out of proportion or not.

What matters is that you are managing the expectations of your employees, your customers, and your stakeholders.

Replace fear with facts.

And because things change on a daily basis, you must be prepared to communicate constantly. In other words – Always Be Communicating.

When you manage expectations, you manage, mitigate, or eliminate fear.

Here are a few things to communicate about:

  • What should employees do to remain safe?
  • What should customers do to remain safe?
  • Are any of your operations or services changing?
  • If everything is operating as normal, under what circumstances will change be enacted?
  • If changes are enacted, how will you continue to serve your audiences amid the changes?

You and your organization will be affected in some way. How severe the effect is can depend upon how effectively and how frequently you communicate.

Take your audience away from worry and take them to a place of informed decision-making.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Twitter versus Facebook: A Perfect Crisis Communications Case Study

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Crisis communication failures are easy for any expert to cite as an example of what not to do. It is far harder to find a crisis communication and crisis management case study where things are done correctly, because often the public never knows about a potential crisis that never reached a flash point.

Twitter, however, has publicly averted a crisis through both good crisis management and good crisis communications. The wisdom of their decision is punctuated by Facebook’s failure to avert a crisis.

Twitter has voluntarily decided to simply not run political ads. On the one hand, Twitter will lose ad revenue. On the other hand, Twitter doesn’t have to bear the blame of running false, deceptive, or divisive political ads.

Facebook, meanwhile, in what appears to be a grab to earn all the money they can, has publicly said they will run political ads, while also confirming that they will not check to see if the ads are false. Put in simple terms, if you want to lie, Facebook will take your money in order to help you promote and spread your lie.

It is refreshing to see a CEO like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey do what is right, rather than doing what earns the most short term money. It shouts INTEGRITY. I’ve been fortunate enough to deal with many CEOs who are willing to take my advice to do what is right, even if it means earning less money in the short term.

Ultimately, when you do the right thing you reap long term rewards, which offsets the short term losses. Only time will tell if this is true for Twitter, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is going to give it a try.

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg will simply add to their downward spiral of criticism. Facebook’s business model is to harvest as much of your personal data as possible, then sell that data to those who want to manipulate your beliefs for their own gain. This is true whether an ad targets you for laundry powder, toothpaste, or someone running for president of the United States.

Facebook, in many ways, is the platform that has made America so divided politically, because of the Facebook data harvested by Cambridge Analytica, which was used to benefit everyone from the Russians to political candidates in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook’s engagement is down significantly because people are tired of having their data harvested and they are tired of seeing everything from divisive ads to divisive political memes from fake Facebook accounts. Ultimately, Facebook will be nothing more than a place where like-minded people gather to support their like-minded beliefs that are being reinforced by like-minded candidates who tell them what they already believe.

My suspicion is that Facebook is betting they can make big bucks by doing what I would professionally consider to be the WRONG thing. I suspect their short term gain will result in long term losses as more users leave the platform.

In the meantime, let me lift up Twitter and Jack Dorsey for every company and every CEO to see. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do Mass Shootings Inspire Better Crisis Communications Plans? Five Steps You Can and Should Take Today

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Amid three mass shootings in two weeks, it was surprising to get a call from the public information officer (PIO) of a city, asking what it would cost them to implement my crisis communications plan system for their town.

“We have lots of festivals and I think we are vulnerable to a mass shooting like they had at the Garlic Festival in California,” she said. In that shooting, four people died, including the gunman, and 13 others were injured.

Why is it surprising that a city wants a crisis communications plan? The reality is, every community and business should have a crisis communications plan with pre-written news releases for mass shootings and workplace shootings. But history tells us that a crisis seldom generates a discussion along the lines of, “What would we do if that happened here?” as it relates to communications and specifically crisis communications.

Hats off to this PIO for wanting to open a discussion with her city leaders. She admits that she’s been rebuffed before when she has tried to generate interest for having a robust crisis communications plan. The city’s elected officials seem to think it is a waste of time and money. They expect the PIO can just magically respond.

This flawed thinking is common among elected officials and corporate leaders. Many are in denial or ignorant about how fast news travels on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels. This is due in part to the fact that many of these decision makers don’t like or use social media, so they know of it… but they don’t understand the nuance of how fast bad news travels.

Time was when each shooting used to generate an article from me, urging people to evaluate how each school, community or business responded. We would examine whether news conferences were done correctly, whether the first news release was issued in less than one hour, and we would examine how media filled the void of news with mindless speculation. Those articles usually led to rebuffs alleging that it was “too soon to talk about it” or that it was “too opportunistic to talk about it.”

Experts in crisis communications would advise you that each crisis, whether it is a mass shooting, workplace violence, natural disaster, or sexual misconduct allegation, creates an opportunity to have a conversation and ask, “What would we do?” and “Are we prepared for something like this?”

If you want to be the crisis expert in your school, community, or company, here are 5 Steps that you can take immediately:

1) Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment to determine all of the potential crises that could befall your community or your company. This becomes your road map for your crisis communications plan and the number of pre-written statements you will want to have in your crisis communications plan.

2) Write a Crisis Communications Plan that precisely guides the organization through the process of gathering information quickly, confirming that information with leaders, then quickly issuing a series of statements to the public, the media, employees, and other key stakeholders.

3) Write a Library of Pre-written Statements that can be edited and customized quickly for distribution. That same statement should go to all employees, the public, to your website, and to your social media channels.

4) Conduct Media Training for all potential spokespeople and teach them how to conduct a news conference using the pre-written statements. The statements must be written for the spoken word and they must proactively answer every question that reporters will ask in a news conference. Never send a spokesperson out to ad-lib a news conference. It gets ugly fast.

5) Once you have completed the above four tasks, conduct a Crisis Communications Drill so that you can test your plan, your pre-written statements, and your spokespeople. Pepper your drill with misdirection, mock social media posts, and add at least two mock news conferences to your drill.

Be bold. Start a conversation that others may not be willing to have.

Be bold. Take action.

If you’d like to dig deeper into these five steps, request your free access to the 5-part video series on the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications. Use this link to register.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications Workshop – November 7, 2019 in Baton Rouge

If you would like to master the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, now is the time to register for the Louisiana Hospital Association’s full-day workshop on November 7, 2019 in Baton Rouge. Learn how you can be a crisis communications expert.

For full details, use this link to download the brochure.

To register, click here.

The cost is only $195 for LHA members and only $250 for corporate guests.

To hear more about what you will learn in this workshop, watch this video:

When: Thursday, November 7, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Map this event »
LHA Conference Center
2334 Weymouth Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70809
United States

Presenter: Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC – Gerard Braud Communications


Contact: Melissa Arthur
marthur@lhaonline.org
225-928-0026

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Crisis Communications Planning: Q4 Use It or Lose It

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

If you operate on a fiscal budget calendar, May can be a great time for your crisis communications planning. Read more