It can happen to any business at any time, and should a crisis occur, how you respond will determine the outcome. Making rash comments without first thinking about what you are going to say can be extremely costly, so much so that it makes sense to set out a plan of actions in the event of a crisis, and with that in mind, here are a few do’s and don’ts for the company spokesperson to consider.
- Do Make Timely Statements – It does not help if you avoid the media, and that is when speculation can rear its ugly head. Make timely statements, but make sure you have thoroughly analysed your statement, and, of course, the legal department need to see it before it is released.
- Do Tell The Truth – We all know that one untruth generally leads to another, and before you know it, you have been exposed. This would be disastrous, of course, and while it is best to tell the truth, choosing your words carefully can very much lighten the load. This point is covered in the Insignia crisis communication training, available from an online provider, and with the experts guiding you, your crisis communication will be designed to minimise the impact on the organisation.
- Do Give Credit Where It Is Due – This is important, as it shows you are aware and indeed grateful for people’s efforts, plus it takes the focus away from other aspects.
- Don’t Speculate Or Assume – Neither speculation nor assumption have a place in crisis communication, which can lead to all kinds of deeper opinions that might or might not be relevant. For advice on using social media when communicating a crisis, there are articles you can find online.
- Don’t Accept Liability Without Legal Consent – This is a big no-no, as a press statement admitting liability could end up costing you the company. If you feel a question might lead to such a statement, simply do not respond, and this is the kind of thing a crisis management plan would handle.
- Don’t Respond To Unscheduled Questions – It simply is the best option to avoid responding to any unscheduled questions from the press, as your answer would be off the cuff, and without having the time to think about the response, you are treading on dangerous ground.
- Do Proof All Communications – This is vital, as it ensures that all output is not going to cause any further issues, and as a rule of thumb, all press statements should be approved prior to release. This is best achieved if you have a crisis management plan in place, and there are online specialists who can help your organisation plan for any crisis.
We must always remember that external communications can be potentially very dangerous and every single statement, comment, or report must be checked and double checked before agreeing to the release. Most companies have realised the potential risks involved with a crisis, and for that reason, have created a crisis management plan, which sets out a firm course of action for many given scenarios, and it does include all external communication.
This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer .