A crisis is bound to happen. The question is, will your organization be ready to tackle it? Crisis, when not well handled, can quickly damage the reputation of your company.
Crisis communication training is designed to prepare you to act professionally on that inevitable day. This article highlights some of the pre-crisis communication steps usually learnt in a crisis communication training.
1) Anticipate crisis
A Crisis happens when we least expect it, it’s important to form a crisis communication team for comprehensive brainstorming on all the possible crisis that could occur and damage the image of your organization.
This assessment process can also help in formulating a crisis response plan suitable for your organization, one that not only includes operational components but also communication component.
Carrying out this exercise is beneficial in a number of ways;
- It helps to put a preventive measure on any possible crisis by simply modifying the existing structure of operation.
- It gives the firm a grace period of time to think on how best to handle any crisis with minimal or no pressure.
2) Identify your crisis communication team
Identify a team of senior executives to serve as your crisis communication team in your organization. The organization CEO should be the ideal choice to lead the team, with an independent legal counsel or the firm’s top public relation executive as the chief adviser.
Additionally, should a crisis occur in your organization, it’s important to bring on board a subject-specific expert that have vast experience in handling the problem at hand.
3) Identify and Train Spokesperson
Categorically, Organizations should have proper training and policies in place. For instance, one that allows only an authorized spokesperson to speak on behalf of the company.
For different levels of communications, it’s crucial to have a trained and pre-screened individual to be the lead or a backup spokesperson.
Organization spokesperson during a crisis should have the right training, skills, and should be in the right position.
To read on the qualities of a good spokesperson click here.
4) Spokesperson training
A spokesperson should receive professional training on how to talk to the media, employees, clients and the general public.
It’s very easy for information about your organization to be misunderstood or misinterpreted by the media and both the internal and external stakeholders. Having a trained and qualified spokesperson helps in minimizing the chances of that happening.
Training the spokesperson prepares the organization on how to readily respond in an effortlessly way hence optimizing the response of the entire stakeholder involved.
5) Establish monitoring and notification systems
Do you remember the time when the quickest way of reaching someone was through a telegram or fax? Today, there are better, reliable and faster means to reach out to the stakeholders.
It’s important to have a reliable communication system that can easily dispatch messages to people in the quickest way possible during a crisis. There are numerous methods you can use to reach out to the internal and external stakeholders such as messages, emails, and of course social media.
Gathering intelligence is a crucial part of both crisis response and prevention.
Having an idea on what the public, employees, and clients are saying negatively about your organization on social media or traditional media gives you an insight to what can potentially turn into a crisis if left unattended.
Likewise, monitoring all the feedback from your entire stakeholders during a crisis helps you in adopting new tactics and strategy in managing the situation.
Your organization requires a working monitoring system in advance; there are a variety of paid and free monitoring services available on the internet to choose from.
Furthermore, you can have a customer care service that can help you in gathering and reporting whatever they hear from stakeholders.
6) Identify and know your stakeholders
Identify both the external and internal stakeholders that truly matter to your organization. Employees are the most important audience, they are the crisis managers and PR representatives of your company.
It’s important to make sure they receive the right information that you would like them to repeat elsewhere.
7) Develop holding messages
Holding messages are statements designed for use when a crisis happens, they can be developed in advance to be used whenever a crisis occurs. Holding statements should be revised regularly by the crisis communication team to keep them up to date.
With all that being said, it is important to stay alert at all times and be ready for nobody knows when a crisis will occur. It can be your organization or someone else’s. But just in case it happens to you, be ready by conducting this training to the staff. Follow this link to know more about crisis communication