Understanding Crisis Communication
Crisis communications is a part of public relations that intends to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization from a potential or ongoing public challenge to its reputation. Crises can hit at any time without forewarning, so it’s important to be aware of how to address the situation beforehand. Ask yourself these questions when creating a crisis communications plan to create the best possible course of action.
Note: We are not lawyers and are not qualified to provide you with legal advice. If your crisis involves a legal issue, talk to your legal counsel before you move forward with any type of communications strategy.
Analyze the situation and determine whether you need to address it. Take a step back from the situation and ensure that you need to create a communications plan. Consider the ramifications of the event and ascertain whether it could lead to further scrutiny, therefore requiring a communications plan. If the situation does not need to be addressed, you may be drawing attention to an inconsequential event. Instead of trying to respond to every negative situation, focus your time and energy on the ones that will really make an impact.
Figure out whether you want to address the issue publicly or privately. Just like how you might not need to address an inconsequential event, there are some cases where it is better to solve the problem privately without announcing it to the media. However, there are also times where silence can worsen the situation. If the issue isn’t going to go away, you will probably want to address it publicly.
Create your message to contain the crisis. After making sure that you have all the pertinent information available to you, you should create a statement to explain, refute, or address the matter at hand. Make sure that, once you create a statement, that you and all others in your organization stick to the message. Should any other questions about the situation arise that haven’t been addressed in your statement, you can decide later whether or how to answer those. Remember that, while saying “I’ll get back to you” is a much better response than a “no comment,” a lie is one of the worst possible responses.
Determine who will deliver your message. The individual or team delivering your message is as important as the message they will be giving. When considering people to