There are some general principles that can positively affect your actions and communication in a crisis situation, whether you have created the crisis or the crisis has materialized from a simmering issue.
We recommend you consider following these key principles in any crisis situation:
• Bring the situation under control, if possible.
- Always protect people first and property second. Analyze the situation to judge its newsworthiness. Don’t create a crisis by jumping the gun. Many times the situation doesn’t warrant media attention.
• Gather the facts – who, what, where, when, why, how, what next.
• If necessary, activate your crisis management team.
- Act quickly; spare no expense to distribute the information you determine the media and others should have.
• Give the media as much information as possible; they’ll get the information (perhaps inaccurately) from other sources.
• Don’t speculate.
- If you don’t know the facts say so and promise to get back to the media as soon as possible. Then be sure to do so.
• Protect the integrity and reputation of the organization.
• Report your own bad news.
- Don’t allow another source to inform the media first.
•Remember we now live in a social media world. If you have sufficiently built your brand and credibility in advance of the crisis using social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook now is the time to use it to your benefit to get information out quickly and to correct mis-information. Remember you can’t control the message using social media, however, you can shape it.
- Perform an act of goodwill during or immediately after a crisis when appropriate and possible.
• Crisis communication planning can help you deal effectively with those unexpected disasters, emergencies or other unusual events that may cause unfavorable publicity for your organization.
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