Crisis Communication: Basic Tools to Overcome a Crisis
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
One of the most serious challenges a person or any organisation can face is an attack on their reputation. It takes years to build a solid reputation, but only a moment to destroy it. A crisis can result from many different things, including natural disasters, accidents, financial problems, negative media attention, and more.
No matter the cause, a crisis always risks serious damage to an individual's or organisation's reputation.
That's why it's so important to have a plan in place for how to communicate during a crisis. Crisis communication is all about minimising the damage to your reputation and maintaining the trust of your stakeholders. Here are five tips for surviving a crisis.
1. Develop a plan before you need it.
The first step is to develop a crisis communication plan. This should include a list of people who need to be involved in the communications process, specific messages you want to communicate, and a list of channels you will use to reach your stakeholders.
It's critical to think about potential circumstances and react accordingly. That is why you'll need a contact distribution list with media contacts and internal and external stakeholders in case something goes wrong.
If you take the time to prepare for a crisis, you'll be in a much better position to respond effectively if one does occur. Part of your preparation should include identifying key stakeholders and creating a communication plan that outlines how you will reach them in the event of a crisis.
2. Respond in a timely manner.
During a crisis, it's important to communicate quickly and often. Reputations can be ruined if you are seen as unresponsive or out of touch. Having a pre-crisis plan may help you to respond quickly to it.
Imagine the worst-case scenario and how you would react. This will help you to be prepared for anything that might come your way.
Your response should be quick, honest, and transparent. Be sure to take into account the tone of your message as well as the medium you use to deliver it. It may be appropriate to issue a press release or hold a press conference in some cases. In others, a more personal approach such as a letter or email might be best.
The goal of your response should be to contain the crisis, calm any fears, and show that you're in control.
3. Delegate responsibilities and minimise miscommunication.
During a crisis, it's important to have a clear chain of command. You should designate one person to be the primary spokesperson and give them the authority to speak on behalf of the organisation. This will help to ensure that your message is consistent and that there is no miscommunication.
It's also important to delegate responsibility for different tasks so that everyone knows what they need to do. This will help to ensure that the crisis is handled efficiently and effectively.
4. Consult legal and crisis management professionals.
If you're not sure how to proceed, it's always best to consult with legal and crisis management professionals. They can provide you with the guidance you need to make sure that you're handling the situation correctly.
This can avoid the need for litigation and allow you to get expert help on how to deal with the issue.
5. Inform and make your team feel involved.
Your team should feel informed and involved in the process of dealing with a crisis. This will help to build morale and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Transparency is key during a crisis. Be sure to keep your team updated on developments and let them know how they can help.
Internal teams are the machinery of an organisation, so they need to be kept up-to-date and informed as often as possible. They must feel secure, valued, and properly informed. It will be quite tough to overcome a crisis if your team does not have confidence in you.
Monitor the situation and be prepared to adjust your plan.
Even after you've implemented your crisis communication plan, it's important to monitor the situation and be prepared to adjust your plan as necessary. Again, the goal is to minimise the damage to your reputation and keep your stakeholders informed.
Once the crisis is over, it's important to take a step back and learn from what happened. What could you have done better? What worked well? What didn't work? Answering these questions will help you be better prepared for future crises.
Crisis communication is an essential skill for anyone in a position of responsibility. With these five tips, you'll be well to survive a crisis. Just remember to stay calm, be honest, and communicate often. If you do, you'll come out of the crisis unscathed.