By Gerard Braud
No one knows the hour or the day when a real crisis will strike, nor do they know how or when various events will cascade during the crisis. Your crisis communications drill needs to simulate as much of this as possible.
In a crisis communications drill, chances are you need to let everyone involved know at least the date of the drill. The date is the only piece of information that I ever share with people involved in the crisis drills I facilitate.
I may take the easy path and run a drill for three hours from 9 a.m. until noon, or I may let the crisis begin to unfold as people are in the middle of their commute to work. Sometimes I launch the drill as parents are juggling the morning rituals of getting their kids up and off to school.
Since real crisis events seldom happen at a convenient time, your crisis communications drill should duplicate and simulate real life challenges.
In addition to keeping the starting time a secret, I never share details about the drill scenario with anyone other than other drill facilitators.
Secrecy is important because you don’t want anyone taking extra precautions in the days or weeks before the drill. The drill is designed to measure everyone’s preparedness and response at a specific moment in time. In other words, if a crisis happened now, how prepared would everyone be?
After the drill you should be prepared to modify your crisis communications plan.