There are times when a company might be in a crisis due to various reasons. There could be a dip in the market, a negative publicity due to a glitch in product or service, or anything else. In such a situation the only one that can come to one’s rescue is a high-functioning public relation (PR) team. A strong crisis communication is all you need to deal with such mucky situations. The following are the ten steps of crisis communication that help an organisation rise from a rough phase.
1. Pre-Planning: A crisis management depart of the PR team must always be alert to any situation that may turn into a crisis. There are many things that can be avoided if there is proper communication among the company and the PR agents. Learn to anticipate the problem before it occurs and nips it in the bud.
2. Form A Solid Team: Every corporate organisation must have a well-thought team that will handle the nitty-gritty of crisis communication. In most cases, the CEO of the company heads this team along with the top executives of the firm’s PR management group. The team should comprise of members that who have specialised in problem-solving various crisis situations.
3. Selecting Representatives: It is important that you take time out to identify the skilled people who can be trained for handling crisis. The spokesperson must be well-aware of the history of the company and should have the gift of the gab. Clear and convincing communication skills are a must for crisis management.
4. Training Process: A successful crisis communication team is the one that works towards training their executives to the T. The training should be done to hone the skills of the potential spokespersons. In this way, one can be prepared for the time when the crisis arrives.
5. Hands-on Technology: The company must be well-equipped with various technological mediums for communicating with the clients and media on short notice. Today’s high-tech world has a very short attention span, and there is hardly any room for mistakes. From faxes, phones, messengers, to social media, everything can be used to keep connected with various clients as well as customers. The social media management team plays an essential role in crisis communication. Make sure you are updated with the latest technology for quicker communication.
6. Know Your Representatives: If you are clever, you will know that each one of your employees is a PR representative and a spokesperson for your organisation. The reputation and image of your company equally lie in their hands. So, if you treat them well and keep an open communication, they will always be in favour of the company and spread the good word.
7. Prepare Your Statements: You must be well-aware that crisis can strike at any point in time. It is a clever idea to keep a few damage-controlling statements ready before anything really happens. These statements can be released when the need arise.
8. Stay Calm During Crisis: And finally, when there is an actual situation that needs your skills, you need to act and not react. Instead of panicking and taking a rash decision, you need to stay calm, analyse the issue, ask questions, and then suggest a logical solution.
9. Minimise the Issue: Keep the communication clear and do not reveal every detail of the crisis to your stakeholders. Weigh everything you say or write during a crisis. Avoid statements that can snowball into a bigger problem.
10. Post-Crisis Check: Do a proper check after the crisis has been dealt with. It is good to be doubly sure and take lessons from a messy issue. You and your team can have a meet up to appreciate each other’s efforts for dogging the bullet and to check on what you learnt from the experience.
These are the ten essential steps that define crisis communication.