Imagine a job where you are given 10 new major projects this morning, with a deadline of this afternoon. The IT system is down, your phone is ringing off the hook and the Executive wants hourly updates.
Welcome to the world of crisis communications.
In a major crisis, the workload, pressure and expectation on the communications team goes through the roof, making it very challenging to communicate clearly and effectively.
The three key reasons businesses fail in this space are:
- Their Crisis Communication Plan is poor or non-existent
- If they do have a plan, the communications team don’t know how to use it
- The critical knowledge is locked inside the head of one or two people
These factors can cause staff to either freeze, melt down or completely evaporate.
Teams who thrive in these situations have a robust crisis communication plan, where the majority of the heavy lifting has been done in advance.
They have checklists, templates, runsheets, phone lists and pre-approved messages at their fingertips.
They have trained and exercised potential crises regularly, including scenarios where they can’t access their IT systems or offices.
They can even pull staff in from other business units to help in the first 24-48 hours.
A failed communications strategy during a crisis can significantly magnify the cost of the crisis, or worse still, it can become part of the story.
Doing it well requires preparation, training and regular exercising, long before a crisis hits.
So pull out your Crisis Communication Plan today and put it though its paces.
If you are feeling a little vulnerable in this space, get in touch today.
Author: Tim Archer – Head of Communications