Things can and do go wrong, often when you least expect it.
Some of the scenarios we’ve been in when our clients have been hit with a crisis include:
- Elbow-deep in soap suds cleaning up after dinner
- Driving home in the middle of hail storm
- Two-hours out of the city, water skiing on a long weekend
- On the couch live-tweeting about a favourite TV show
From our agency’s experience, many businesses aren’t prepared for communicating with their staff, their customers/clients, the broader community or the media during a crisis.
Top 5 communication tips to help prepare for a crisis
- Choose two spokespeople – Your business should have two or more approved spokespeople, so you always have someone available despite holidays or sickness etc. Media training helps ensure they can confidently communicate your business’ key messages under pressure.
- Install an instant staff communication platform – Purchase software that allows you to text or email all staff at once. Internal communication is critical during a crisis. Staff should receive updates before media or the broader community.
- Plan for possible events – Determine your crisis response before it’s needed by brainstorming different crises and creating plans to respond to them. The plan should include both operations and communications. Crisis plans should be updated as your business grows or evolves to ensure they remain relevant.
- Practice your crisis response – It’s no use having a plan if you can’t execute it when required. Each staff member should take the position of a key person inside or outside your organisation and take turns in exercising their role during a crisis.
- Set up easy access to social media for key staff – News breaks quickly in today’s world of social media, so it’s important senior staff have access to these channels. They should be administrators of the accounts or have easy access to the passwords. Social media can be an invaluable platform for communicating your key messages during a crisis, but also for monitoring public sentiment.