When all around is chaos and the newshounds are baying at your heels, it can be very tempting to go to ground and try to avoid them, particularly if you don’t feel you have much that you want to say to them. But, more often than not, that’s a big mistake. If the press want a story they’ll write it anyway, with or without your input.
And, in reality, you don’t actually have to say that much. But the clever bit is the way that you say it. You need to get some simple, but extremely important messages across. You need to show concern, demonstrate that you’re on top of the situation and put your audience’s minds at rest.
A good way to remember this is to keep the mnemonic ‘CARE’ in mind.
C is for Concern. Express it. Show that you’re a caring organisation. Maybe even apologise to those affected.
A is for Action. Show that you’re doing something. Mention the emergency response or incident management plan. Promise an inquiry if that’s appropriate.
R is for Reassurance. Mention your good track record; that this is an isolated incident; that you have contingency plans; or whatever. Let them know you’re in control; that they’re in safe hands.
E is for Engagement. Tell your audiences how and when you’ll keep them informed. Let them know how to contact you or find more information, e.g. via your website or social media.
Think ‘CARE’, both when you’re actually speaking to the media, and when you’re planning what to say, and you’ll be half way there. You don’t need to give much detail about the situation. But you do need to give the right message, consistently and from the top.
So, if you do find yourself in the media spotlight, take CARE with what you say.
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