Business Continuity Tip of the Month

Crisis communication rules, ok?

When creating your crisis communications plan, when preparing to talk to the media, and when actually talking to them, there are a few “golden rules” in the form of some dos and don’ts.

Do :

  • Have a simple framework in place for dealing with the media in a crisis that is understood by all managers.
  • React quickly and begin communicating at once. Take the initiative.
  • Identify your various audiences and understand their communications needs.
  • Aim to be seen as the authoritative source of information.
  • Log everything, including times and key points of all ‘phone calls or other communications. If possible, record all interviews.
  • Tell the truth – you may be limited to how much you can tell, but never lie – you will be found out!

Don’t :

  • Skimp on training. Those involved must have the skills necessary to carry out their roles and must have rehearsed them.
  • Ever say “no comment”. In media-speak this is likely to be interpreted as “guilty as charged”.
  • Fail to keep promises, or make promises you can’t keep – if you say you are going to provide information, details or comment, make sure you do so.
  • Say anything “off the record” – there is no such thing. Never say anything that you wouldn’t want to see in print with your name against it.

Follow these rules and you will deal much more effectively with the media in a crisis. Ignore them and you might make life just a bit more difficult for yourself!