Take a moment and imagine. You just walked into the office. Phones are ringing off the hook and people are screaming in a panic. Your boss meets you at the door and asks if you’ve seen the news yet. You look confused so they fill you in on the crisis that has just unfolded within your organization. It is now that you can either attack this the correct way or make matters worse by making critical mistakes.
Not sure what to do? Here are some tips to help you overcome a crisis:
Have a Plan:
Crises and disasters can strike at any time. While you might not have the luxury to plan when a disaster will strike your organization, you can have a plan prepared to overcome this uncomfortable time. Having a plan allows you to implement key strategic actions with ease and shows your stakeholders you are prepared. It’s important to have key messages, social media posts and response teams in place, as that will help lessen the blow crises can inflict on your organization.
During the Crisis:
Keep key stakeholders updated. Nothing is worse than undergoing a crisis without providing updates to the right stakeholders on your mitigation efforts. Does this mean you have to tell every single detail as it unfolds? Of course not. However, providing regular updates assures your stakeholders you are working to overcome the situation. This also provides the public with a sense of transparency during the crisis. Being transparent allows them to see you are not hiding and shows you are in control. Handling a crisis well instills confidence in your organization.
Speak with Care:
When speaking about the crisis, there are many things to consider. First, is who will speak for your organization. It does not necessarily have to be the leader or CEO of your organization. This can be a communication specialist or someone experienced in the field. Whomever this person is, they need to have a clear understanding of the organization’s purpose, values, past history and must be able to communicate efficiently and effectively. They should speak on the positive aspects or actions being taken by your organization. Anything written or spoken during a crisis should reflect only the facts. It is important to be honest at all times a never stretch the truth. Never attempt to cover up a problem with half-truths. Especially with the media. If they have any suspicion of an untruthful statement from your organization, they will jump to the conclusion that nothing you say is based on truth or fact.
The media can be your friend or enemy during a crisis. Their coverage of the event can be critical to the overall image of your organization. They have the power to showcase how you handle the crisis. However, they can also shine a light on any missteps made by your organization. This could drastically alter your image in the public’s eye. By being transparent, honest, and proactive, you can control the narrative.
Need crisis communication help?
Reach out to our team of crisis communication experts. The Communications Group has helped many organizations navigate a variety of crises and we would be glad to work with you! Our public relations team can create a crisis communication plan tailored specifically to your organization and industry. Contact us today to get started!