After nearly three decades of helping organizations prepare communication responses for a crisis, here are our top tips to navigate stormy waters:
1) Don’t repeat negatives in a question. Instead, say that you have different information than what was stated and then deliver your key messages.
2) Cultivate relationships with industry experts and keep them informed about your business. If they know your business, they can be great third-party validators during a crisis.
3) Identify the top social media users in your city and your industry and cultivate relationships with them. Invite them to insider events. They may come to your defense when you need them the most.
4) Prepare key messages for likely scenarios and have them vetted by your attorneys before the crisis strikes. (Learn how in our new online Crash Course in Crisis Communications).
5) Know your organization’s policies on commenting about ongoing investigations, confirming employment status, releasing information about employees, etc. Don’t say you have policies if you don’t have them in writing.
6) Have an updated Crisis Communication Plan and practice drills quarterly.
7) Talk about actions you are taking and avoid talking about inaction. “Clean-up efforts are underway…” “A hot-line has been set up…” “Grief counselors are on-site…”
8) Tell the stories of the heroes such as first responders or employees who sprang into action.
9) Don’t speculate about motives or causes. Be wary of speculative questions that contain the word “if.” Stick to confirmed facts.
10) Never say “no comment.” Instead, explain why you can’t answer and turn to what you can say. “It’s not our policy to speculate but here is what I can tell you…”
What tips would you add to this list? Leave them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you1
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The Toolkit: Go beyond messaging with our Crisis Communication Toolkit. Get all the tools, templates, and tactics you need to ensure you are ready. The toolkit includes a 29-page instruction guide and a 108-page Word template that allows you to create your own custom plan. So, how much does all this cost? Would you believe YOU DECIDE THE PRICE! $$$ Yep, you decide how much to pay. But hurry, because this offer won’t last long!
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