Crisis happens. Today’s news reminds us that unfortunate events can happen in the workplace, in our schools and throughout the community. Is your organization prepared to effectively manage a crisis situation?
You can’t predict what will happen, but you can prepare:
Crises of all kinds can affect your organization. Anticipate them and make it a priority to plan for these situations. Create a crisis communication team and identify risks that could affect your organization on many levels, such as your operations and your reputation. Creating a crisis communication strategy identifies key spokespersons, messaging and important tasks that can be easily forgotten in a crisis.
What’s your message? Using your crisis communication team, craft key talking points specific to the situation. Determine the audiences that need to be communicated to and how to best reach them. Don’t forget your internal audiences – make sure to communicate to employees and other internal partners before making public statements or giving media interviews.
Understand the communication outlets that can reach your audiences – and listen to what they are saying. Your communication will be influenced by what you hear. Communication is immediate through tweets, posts and reviews, as well as through easy-to-deploy push notifications. It’s not just about what you share externally; it’s about following what others are saying, too. Monitor traditional media and social media conversations to ensure you know when and how to respond.
After a crisis is resolved, evaluate the situation in an effort to understand what went well and what can be improved. Learn from the situation and make determinations on whether adjustments to your crisis communication approach, outreach and messaging need to be addressed. This post-crisis analysis can help your organization be better prepared for managing future incidents.
Communication is crucial to any crisis situation. While you can’t predict when or where a crisis may occur, you can prepare and use strategic communication to ensure your approach, outreach and message are all aligned.