Crisis communication team
- Assign specific roles to team members, such as designating one person to speak to external publics and another to keep internal publics fully informed.
- Rehearse the crisis management team regularly.
- Train and retrain the spokespersons, emphasizing the need for them to work with others involved,including officials and agencies, and to communicate so the organization will be seen as speaking with one voice.
Crisis communication plan
- Monitor your environment regularly and identify your organization’s vulnerabilities. Assess these vulnerabilities. Continuously seek ways to mitigate these vulnerabilities before they become crises.
- Develop a series of scenarios that reflect the crises your organization may face. Prioritize your organization’s vulnerabilities by identifying those that would be most urgent.
- Pay particular attention to the worst cases.
- Evaluate realistically the probability that the worst case will happen.
- Review current policies and strategies that may be impacted.
- Review key messages you will want to impart in response to possible scenarios. Draft Q&A for response to these possible crisis scenarios.
When a crisis occurs
- 1. Determine what kind of crisis. There are two main categories based on consequences—violent or nonviolent.
- 2. Define the crisis in terms of triggering event - the cause.
- 3. Identify publics.
As the Crisis Unfolds
- Strive for a timely, consistent and candid flow of accurate information to both internal and external publics to allay fears and stifle rumors. The organization should continue to function as normally as possible, leaving it to the crisis management team to contend with the crisis.
- Make adjustments to policies and strategies as needed to arrest the crisis.
- Seek public support as needed.
- Make changes in policies and strategies as needed to speed recovery from the effects of the crisis.
- Seek to re-establish the operation of the organization to the level it had before the crisis, or even better, as soon as possible.
- Set clear expectations and timelines for updates. Stick to them, even if the update is that there is no change.
- Learn from the crisis experience. After it’s over, reconvene the crisis management team to evaluate. Review the crisis’ causes, the organization’s responses to it and the outcomes. If necessary, make changes to the structure of the organization. If the organization has a history of an open-management style, such changes are likely to be slight.
- And finally, update the crisis management/communication plan in light of this most recent experience.