Crisis Communications – Customizable Keynote Speech “Silver Linings in Muddy Waters”

In this keynote presentation, I’m looking at how communications can change EVERYTHING. 

New Orleans suffered one of the worst disasters we have seen in this country, or even worldwide. Through my personal experiences with Hurricane Katrina, I am sharing some of the ramifications of when we only think about the sunny days of our businesses, companies, and organizations, versus preparing for our darkest days.

I’m examining the mindset of leaders who are in decision paralysis, denial, who are arrogant for thinking they can “wing it.” There are too many business leaders and political leaders who are not protecting themselves from disasters, who blame everyone else for failures. In this keynote, I describe how communications could have changed everything and how preparing could have saved lives.

Every crisis is a living classroom. We should never “waste” the opportunity to study what went right and what went wrong, but more importantly, how to do our best in the future.

Always remember, for every tragedy, there is a heart, soul, and spirit that needs recovery. As a business leader, you are responsible for getting your team, clients, and stakeholders there. There is a silver lining in muddy waters. There are both smiles and tears. For more on that, watch the video.

To set goals and talk about your needs for effective crisis communications, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me

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

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Ready or Reactionary? The SituationHub Master Class on Crisis Communications

How do you stack up?

PR News and CS&A International asked companies a simple question: Do you have a crisis management plan? Nearly 60 percent said they had a plan, yet only half of those plans were up-to-date. This means 70% of organizations are really just flying by the seat of their pants when a crisis strikes.

Why is this? We look behind the numbers and offer you fast, affordable solutions in this Master Class for Crisis Communications.

Your free access has been paid for by the team at (SituationHub is the crisis communications app that can automatically write your crisis news release in as few as 3 minutes). Watch the recording here.

We’ll tackle this topic in 3 parts:

First, we’ll look at some surprising results from a survey on crisis communications. The survey was done by PR News and CS&A International.

Second, we’ll look behind the numbers and talk with the woman who conducted the survey, crisis expert Caroline Sapriel.

Third, we’ll give you a roadmap of best practices and challenge you to take at least one step toward preparedness.

When it comes to Ready or Reaction, see how your organization compares to others.

Then, set some goals to be one step closer to readiness.

As a bonus, schedule a confidential call to privately discuss your social media and crisis communications challenges by using  this link

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

This video asks the question, “Should a PR person prepare for a crisis or should they wing it and rely on hope?” You may know the obvious answer, but you might be surprised to know that too many PR professionals still wing their response to a crisis.

Planning it requires writing vulnerability assessments, writing a thorough crisis communications plan, and having a library of pre-written news releases. These are all time-consuming tasks. So how do you manage it all? We asked Melissa Russo, public relations professional for Coast Electric, to share her strategy for planning it, winging it, or hoping for the best.

Visit this link to enjoy a full replay of this Master Class sponsored by

Use this link to schedule a free, private call

To schedule a free, confidential demo for the crisis communications software SituationHub, visit:

More crisis communications articles:

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…”

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications: Master Class #1

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

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

Crisis Communications Plan for 2019: January Resources

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

In the month of January, we have reviewed a ton of crisis communications tips, public relations strategies, and we outlined effective crisis communication planning. Whether you enjoy a good read of an article, or you prefer to watch an informative video, these resources are readily available to you.

Even though we covered so much material, from 5 Steps to Crisis Communications in 4 Quarters, to the case studies on current crises involving the Covington Catholic Highschool Students, the topics all boil down to one point. You can plan for effective crisis communications year round. You can learn, not just observe the mistakes of other companies and organizations. You can knock items off your to-do list each quarter, and I am here to be your accountability buddy whenever you need me or have a question.

Feel free to review this month’s resources, share them, re-tweet them, show them to your colleagues who won’t put anything on the books. But if you want to get right on track for the year, use this link to get access to a free 5-part video series that explores best practices in crisis communication.

January Resources:

2019 Crisis Communications Goal Setting: 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications

2019 Crisis Communications Planning Based on 2018 Trends

Crisis Communications Planning: Fill Your 2019 Calendar Now

2019 January Forgiveness for Your Crisis Communications Planning

Case Studies:

Bird Box Challenge + 2019 Crisis Communications Plan Challenge

Covington, KY Student vs. Native American Drummer Crisis Case Study

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

The Hurricane Katrina Prediction – What We Knew 15 Years Before the Flooding

hurricane katrina promo

Click image to play video

As a former storm chaser and TV reporter, my belief is that proper communications from New Orleans officials, before Hurricane Katrina, would have greatly minimized the human crisis. As you will see in this video, the catastrophic flooding was predicted a full 15 years before Hurricane Katrina. Would this – could this — happen again? If you’d like to talk about what might happen in New Orleans or any other city in the future, please call me at 985-624-9976.

The Crisis Management Wake-up Call for Communities, Government, Law Enforcement and Business

baltimore policeBy Gerard Braud

Generally we talk about crisis communications. But sometimes, we need to talk about crisis management. If we manage a crisis to keep it from happening, then we don’t need to communicate about it. Often, crisis management can begin by looking at case studies.

The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri should have been a wake-up call that should have prevented the Baltimore riots from happening. The Baltimore crisis should be the wake-up call that prevents the next community crisis from happening. These are only two community crises that should warn us all that more will follow, if crisis management action isn’t taken.

Most amazing to me is how frequently police officers are caught on video these days doing something wrong. A law enforcement agency can have 1,000 perfect officers, but they only need one rogue police officer to bring an entire department and community to its knees. The number of unjustified shootings and arrests being captured on video is astounding. Each becomes a high profile example of a growing problem, regardless of all of the many justified arrests made by officers.

The margin for error is small. Wake up. Video cameras are everywhere. This is not a suggestion that officers need to learn how to avoid being recorded and caught. This is a suggestion that crisis management in communities must begin with self correction of bad behavior. Good cops need to weed out the bad cops. Police departments need to establish new integrity standards to weed out the bad officers before their behavior paralyzes another department and community.

Likewise, elected officials and police chiefs in every community need to enact crisis management techniques designed to aggressively weed out the rogue individuals who wear a badge. The high cost of human life and community destruction demand it.

As part of a crisis management strategy, elected officials need to start managing the crisis of poverty, under-performing schools, unemployment, and other community problems. No small task, but again, the high cost of human life and community destruction demand it. Aggressive policing in a high crime area doesn’t correct the problem, it only treats the symptom.

Preventing a crisis is economically more affective that dealing with the crisis and the aftermath.

Those of you in business, likewise, need to exercise your own crisis management by meeting with elected officials and law enforcement to hold their feet to the fire to make sure they are taking action. Their failings hurt you financially.

Businesses and business groups can also take direct action in communities to improve the quality of life, without waiting for government to lift the heavy load alone. Business groups can circumvent government to establish community centers, youth mentorship programs, and job training programs.

As we’ve seen in Baltimore, Ferguson and other communities, businesses are incapacitated and often destroyed when the crisis gets out of hand. Business pays a heavy price.

As it stands now, Ferguson and Baltimore have ignited the fires of frustration. Each serves as a model for the next community to follow. Now that the die is cast, you can expect each sequential crisis to be bigger than those before it.

The task of proactively changing a community is difficult. Failure to tackle the difficult task is costly.

What will you do?

When “It” Hits the Fan – Hurricane Season Readiness & Effective Communications

hurricane seasonBy Gerard Braud

Forecasters are watching for what might be the development of the first hurricane of 2015.  This happens just as the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association (LEPA) meets in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in advance of the official hurricane season.

I’m delivering the opening keynote presentation to LEPA emergency managers this morning as we look at how effective communications is changing. Emergency managers are being called upon to not only use all of their traditional crisis communications methods, but how to also incorporate social media and mobile technology.

Whether you are part of this group or not, you can take advantage of the lessons being shared using the resources below.

I’ve prepared two handouts for the group, which can be downloaded here:

Weathering the Storm

Leadership When “It” Hits the Fan

If you’d like to perfect your skills for creating effective videos to communicate with your audiences during a disaster, I encourage you to watch this 23 lesson tutorial.

Also, when a crisis strikes you you need to hold a fast news conference or issue a fast statement, I strongly recommended that people use my first critical statement as a fast alternative to writing a formal press release. To get a free download use the coupon code CRISISCOMPLAN when you select the item from my shopping cart.


Ebola Crisis Communications, Finding God, and Your Leadership Team

findinggodExecutives and crisis communications enthusiasts remind me of criminals who find God 15 minutes after then enter prison, then forget God 15 minutes after they are back on the street. Here’s why…

True story from this week: The president of an institution wants crisis communications help now! Why? Because a crisis is at their door, related to an Ebola rumor. At this point, it doesn’t matter what it costs, because their reputation and revenue are on the line. Their dark day has arrived.

A public relations person invited her leadership and executive team to join her for one of my recent Ebola crisis communications webinars. She sent an e-mail to me after the webinar to say her management team is on board and ready to implement all of the crisis communication strategies I suggested. They have seen the light. Amen.

Then 24 hours past and their budding crisis disappeared. All bets are off. The leaders are not ready to spend a dime. They are not ready to do any preparation to ward off the next crisis.

This disturbs me less than it used to because I see it every day in my line of work. But it still disturbs me. I always try to have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Most people have no plan and pray for miracles when the crisis hits. Most executives expect their PR team to rise to the occasion on a moments notice. Most executives are in denial about the need to have a plan and practice that plan on a clear sunny day, so they are prepared on their darkest day.

Like a criminal who finds God in their crisis, then forgets God when the crisis is over, many executives are ready to do what it takes when the crisis is at their door. However, they have short memories about the reputation and revenue damage that awaits them any minute when the next crisis arises and they are unprepared.

Have you seen this where you work?

I’d love to hear how you deal with it.

By Gerard Braud

Ebola Crisis Communications Plan Question: Would an Expert Approve My Plan?

Gerard Braud Crisis Communications PlanAn expert would ask you these questions:

1. Count the pages of your crisis communications plan. If it is 6-10 pages long, it is likely only a list of standard operating procedures and not a true plan. Most organizations have been lead to believe this is a plan. My description is that this is little more than an outline for writing a plan. If your document outlines what should be done, but really assigns those tasks to no one, you have a problem.

2. Could your plan be executed by anyone in your organization who can read and follow directions? This sounds like a strange question, but it is a good test. My mantra when I write crisis communications plans is that is should be so thorough that nothing is forgotten and nothing will fall through the cracks, yet simple enough that it could be read by anyone who can read, and executed by them without mistakes. If your plan reads like a technical manual that is as frustrating as assembling your child’s bicycle on Christmas Eve, you have a problem.

3) What time limits have you placed in your crisis communication plan? At a minimum, the first communication document from your plan should reach the public within one hour of the onset of any crisis. The vast number of plans I’ve reviewed over the years have no mandate for speedy communications. This causes the communicator and the executive team to spend too much time analyzing and second-guessing every decision. Speed is important. If your plan doesn’t set time limits for speed you have a problem.

4) Does your crisis communications plan contain the names and phone numbers of everyone you need to reach during your crisis or does it require you to research and find that information as you execute the plan? Valuable time is lost when you have to stop on the day of your crisis to look up information that you could have looked up and collected on a clear sunny day. If your plan says you should contact a list of people and that list contains only job titles and no names or phone numbers, you have a problem.

5) The magic of a plan is when the plan tells you precisely what information to gather, who to call to assemble a crisis management team, and directs you to a library of pre-written news releases. If you are missing these elements, you have a problem.

Think oCrisis communication workshop gerard braudf Goldie Locks – Your plan shouldn’t be too simple and your plan shouldn’t be too hard. Your plan shouldn’t be too long and your plan shouldn’t be too short.

If you need help determining if your plan is just right, phone me at 985-624-9976.