By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC
Health, safety, and environmental (HSE) best practices are expanding beyond emergency management and disaster recovery. An increasing number of occupational safety experts are recognizing that their crisis management duties must now include best practices in crisis communications.
Many HSE experts work in smaller companies without a public relations professional, so CEO’s and managers are tasking their HSE experts with managing communications during a crisis event.
To learn more about the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communication, use this link to get access to a free 5-part video series that explores best practices in crisis communication. This series takes you into a deeper dive than we have time for here.
Among the things HSE professionals must be aware of is that your emergency response activities are often captured on social media by eyewitnesses. As of this writing, eyewitnesses can broadcast your emergency with Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, and LinkedIn Live, as well as other emerging apps.
Not only are members of your community getting information from social media eyewitnesses, but so are the mainstream media who often republish and rebroadcast social media pictures and videos. We have some great crisis communication social media case studies in the 5-part video series.
Respectable companies are seeing their reputation and revenue destroyed because of negative publicity on both social media and mainstream media.
How do you deal with social media in a crisis?
You must adopt new best practices for crisis communications so that you can be communicating with the media, your employees, your customers, and your community faster than ever before. Faster crisis communications helps you control the narrative of the story. Fast and accurate crisis communications also ends speculation found on both social media and mainstream media.
How do you master fast and accurate crisis communications?
Step 2 of the 5 steps to effective crisis communications is to have a library of pre-written news releases that can be edited in record time and distributed to all audiences, including the media, your employees, your customers, and your community. Each of my clients receives a base set of 100 pre-written news releases with their crisis communications plan. Each news release is methodically written to have multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank options that allow the statement to be modified in about ten minutes.
Step 3 of the 5 steps to effective crisis communications is to have a crisis communications plan that sequentially guides the HSE professional through gathering facts about the incident, confirming it with the crisis management team, then using a pre-written news release to communicate with all of your stakeholders. A good crisis communication plan must take into account that the HSE team is not necessarily schooled in the best practices of public relations. Therefore, the best PR and crisis communication practices must be baked into the sequential instructions of the crisis communications plan.
HSE professionals are often becoming the spokesperson in a crisis. Hence, Step 4 in the 5 steps to effective crisis communications is to schedule crisis media training. A pre-written news release makes a perfect news conference script to read. Media training helps you learn to deliver the statement well. It also helps you respond to difficult questions.
To go deeper, register for the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications. If you are ready to move forward, phone us at 985-624-9976.
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…”
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