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    Relax, Everything is Not a Crisis

    When our April speaker Cynthia Price began her presentation reminding us that "everything is not a crisis," I knew she had been around the crisis communication block. When you've spent years as the spokesperson for a metro police department, overseeing the communication efforts for countless murders, it's easy to remember what truly is and isn't a crisis. But, for most communications professionals things far less critical than murder can certainly feel like crises. So, what do we do when a true crisis takes place? Here are Price's tips. 

    Plan Ahead 

    Start by identifying your crisis team and developing a crisis communications plan. Anticipate potential crises and develop protocols for response for each being sure to consider your key audiences and the appropriate communications methods for each. Develop three key messages for each crisis situation. Identify appropriate spokespeople for each situation and train them. Tip: Always report bad news internally first. Your employees are one of your most important audiences.

    Work the Plan 

    When you take the time to plan appropriately, you're prepared when a true crisis occurs. Then, you work the plan.

    Stay on Message

    You spend time developing key messaging during your planning. Stick to them! Reminder, be sure your designated spokespeople have the key messages and were trained on them. Tip: Have someone from your crisis team with your spokesperson at all times.

    Monitor

    Just as critical as planning for the crisis is monitoring coverage of the crisis. Be sure that coverage is accurate and work quickly to correct false information. Establishing a rapport with your key audiences before a crisis will help you appropriately communicate accurate information with them when a crisis occurs. Using social media also provides you a direct communication tool to correct misinformation and amplify positive coverage.

    A few other tidbits of wisdom from Price on surviving a crisis:

    • Know your audience. Don't get wrapped up in national media hype. 
    • Collaborate with your partners. 
    • Practice self-care. Provide counselors if needed and don't forget to eat, drink and sleep. 
    • Be sure to communicate to your audiences when the crisis has ended. 
    • Be flexible. Crockpot did not even have a Twitter account when the "This is Us" crisis began. Search #crockpotcares to see how flexibility helped them. 

     

    For additional information on crisis communication, check out these resources:

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