Crisis communications

Whether it’s a crisis you’ve created – such as redundancies, business closure or acquisition, or one you have little or no control over such as an employment tribunal, a lawsuit brought by a competitor, insolvency, adverse social media, accidents and emergencies, product recall, or a case of libel or slander – every single organisation is potentially vulnerable to a crisis and it can happen at any time.

In the heat of the moment, employees and management can, and often do, react poorly. Planning is the most important aspect of crisis management, and it’s something that should be undertaken with all potential outcomes in mind, and as early in the process as possible.

Like the conductor of an orchestral performance, a good crisis communication team is always in control. They set the pace and the volume, ensure the right people come in at the right time, make sure everyone is playing from the same songsheet, and shape the message as a whole.

To take our musical metaphor one step further, a good conductor also knows when to turn the volume up, but most importantly – when to turn it down. We call it ‘taking the heat out of the situation’ because we think that best describes what we are here to achieve as crisis managers.

A watertight strategy, to include identifying the best spokespeople, coaching staff, issuing statements to stakeholders and the media, liaising with the press and media monitoring, is your best line of defense. With effective planning, you can take back control of the situation and limit the damage to your organisation.

 

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