I enjoyed talking with communication pro Paloma Ibanez of Javelina this morning during our crisis communication workshop. We discussed my “Ps and Qs” approach to crisis communication planning. The Ps are: Predict, Prepare and Practice, Practice, Practice. The Qs are to respond Quickly and with high Quality. We also talked about how to use social media in a crisis situation and the importance of keeping employees informed and engaged.
Every organization should have an up-to-date crisis communication plan that is ready for the digital age. Many organizations have a plan but don’t realize their plan is outdated. Many crisis communication plans were devised years ago and many are still focused on responding to traditional news media. Crisis communication plans today must include a social media component.
It also is critical that organizations conduct drills several times a year. One drill should be announced to test knowledge about the plan: does everyone know where to be and what to do? Are phone numbers and websites current? Is anything missing from the plan? A second drill should be unannounced and should test how fast the crisis communication team can respond. In both cases, a thorough debriefing should be held at the completion of the exercise so that learning and improvement can take place.
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