Crisis communications: train, align, simulate and do it again

Besides knowing where you go and what you do in a crisis situation, speaking with one voice is of utmost importance. The alignment of your organisation may become a key to keeping its reputation, saving its brand and securing its business.

Crisis communications: train, align, simulate and do it again

Besides knowing where you go and what you do in a crisis situation, speaking with one voice is of utmost importance. The alignment of your organisation may become a key to keeping its reputation, saving its brand and securing its business.

Crisis communications is not something all of us or even most of us experience often or ever. The bigger the anxiety about a possible occurrence. One more than appropriate advice here is the good old stay calm and prepare when you still can. I like Eo Ipso Communications’ production exactly for these qualities. It’s calm, direct to the point, easy to relate, no-nonsense. And who would guide you better into the realm of crisis communications than a former chief communicator of a major international airline, Oliver Aust.

Just a few takeaways I selected for this post based on a video from Eo Ipso Communications on crisis communications:

1. Have a crisis manual in place.

2. Train your executives and spokespersons. The crisis training should go beyond the usual media and presentation training because the exposure is much tougher and the pressure is much higher at the time of a crisis.

3. Bring your organisation into alignment as to how you as an organisation react to the crisis. Again, it goes beyond the manual. It is not enough just to know what each employee is doing in a crisis situation. It is also about speaking with one voice in a coordinated manner. Oliver gives an example of a stumbling block with respect to the alignment: having an upper hand in a crisis situation, legal may find it appropriate to put severe restrictions or even a ban on external communication. However prudent and logical it may look from the legal perspective, it will spell a disaster for the company’s reputation, that is, its brand and future business. In other words, shutting down communications should be “aligned” out from the organisation’s mindset and the crisis toolbox of its legal department.

4. Use crisis simulation training at least once a year to train and to identify weaknesses and blind spots. Because a simulation game brings all internal stakeholders together, it is useful to improve the alignment. Nowadays it can be done with crisis simulation software.

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