Anyone who’s ever spent a three-day weekend with extended family knows how quickly something small can turn into something big. With that in mind, you shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem to deal with before putting a crisis communications plan in place. When something happens, you want to be able to hit the ground running.
On the other hand, crisis communications can be a bit of a loaded term. After all, there’s a difference between a problem and a full-blown crisis. And when talking about the issues your organization faces, you want to be careful not to cause undue panic among your stakeholders.
The steps we take in building any crisis communications plan are the same whether you work in the legal or medical industries, retail, finance, or any other field. You can be small and local, or a Fortune 500 company. We know, because we’ve helped them all.
- Assemble a dedicated response team. Identify everyone’s role and what their tasks will be.
- Plan ahead. What problems could you face in the future?
- Assess possible risks. Learn to identify problems before they become problems.
- Practice, practice, practice. Put yourself and your organization through the drill.
Of course, you can’t plan for everything. However, creating a strong framework will ensure that your response is measured, your message is credible, and that you’re able to put your stakeholders at ease, even when the unexpected happens.