As a keynote speaker at the IABC Canada-West Region Conference, I was asked to do a podcast discussing crisis communications lessons for public relations and communications professionals. Vice President of IABC Calgary, Will Tigley interviews me to talk about crucial communications issues in today’s industry.
Here were a few of the major crisis communications planning aspects to consider that were discussed in the podcast:
First, the need for speed is one of the greatest issues in the industry. With the speed of Twitter and all social media, there is no longer time to wait multiple hours discussing semantics of a press release. The key to speed is pre-written news releases. Put the systems in place on a clear sunny day so that when your darkest day comes, you are prepared.
Will Tigley asked, “How do you go from being good at crisis communications to great at crisis communications?” You must have a robust crisis communications plan with pre-written news releases. You must practice in private, media train your spokespeople at least once a year, and act out realistic, high-chaos, yearly crisis communications drills.
Another aspect to consider in crisis communications planning includes conducting vulnerability assessments. This means walking throughout your organization, interviewing employees, and conducting meetings to determine everything that could ever possibly go wrong. Categories range from white-collar crimes, to hurricanes, to violence, explosions and even social media crises. Again, these crises are remedied with a simple, yet thorough crisis communications plan, as well as pre-written news releases for each scenario.
If there is one thing to walk away with when leaving the IABC Calgary Conference, or any conference in the future, do not file away your stack of notes. A dream without a deadline is still just a dream. Narrow your list, prioritize it, and set a date to follow through with these crucial crisis communications strategies.