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10 Rules for Crisis Communications

What are some good rules for crisis communications? As an organization, mitigating risks to your reputation and operation is important. You need to ensure you have a communications plan with clear goals so you can lead decisively when a crisis hits.


Here are ten quick rules for crisis communications focusing on public relations.


1. Have a Plan for a Crisis

The first rule of crisis communication is to plan, plan, and plan. Your organization should have template plans for likely scenarios that outline your organization's steps during a crisis, including protocols and roles for everyone involved. With a strong template plan, your organization will have a guide for its response when a crisis hits.


2. Commit to Training and Practice Crisis Scenarios

Practice makes perfect, and this is especially true when it comes to crisis communications. Organizations should hold regular training and practice sessions to prepare leaders and staff for crises. Your leadership and staff should brainstorm for likely crises. Training also helps to mitigate risks. Organizations can identify and address potential problems by practicing scenarios before they become critical during a real crisis.


3. Have Holding Statements and Collateral Prepared

Holding statements are pre-written statements that your organization can use to respond quickly to a crisis. Your organization should prepare these statements in advance and contain a general response for a prepared set of circumstances. Organizations should also prepare other materials, such as videos and graphics, that they can use to deploy quickly during a crisis.


4. Know Your Teams

During a crisis, it is essential to have a clear team structure in place with well-defined roles and responsibilities. Organizations should identify key team members essential to crisis management and ensure that everyone knows their role. Organizations can respond quickly and efficiently to a crisis by having preset teams in place.


5. Act on Facts

During a crisis, acting on verified facts and information is essential. Organizations should keep a database of verified facts and information for the public. A process should be in place to confirm anything before it goes out externally. Organizations can avoid spreading misinformation and damaging their reputation by acting on facts.


6. Show Empathy and Compassion

A crisis can be emotional and challenging for all of those who are involved and affected. Organizations need to respond with care and concern and show empathy and compassion. An empathetic response can build trust with the public and demonstrate that they care about their customers, employees, and stakeholders.


7. Set Goals and Know Your Exit Strategy

It is essential to have clear goals for crisis management during a crisis. Organizations should establish goals and plan for when the crisis is over so they can maintain business continuity. Knowing the exit strategy is essential in returning to normal operations quickly.


8. Have a Strong Approval Process

During a crisis, you need to make decisions quickly. It is essential to have a clear approval process with requirements to involve the right decision makers and subject matter experts. A strong approval process will ensure you release the correct information the first time.


9. Use the Right Communications Channels and Tools

Identifying the best communication channels and tools to reach the target population is essential in crisis communications. Organizations should use the most effective channels and tools to communicate with the public during a crisis, including social media, email, and other communication channels.


10. Develop Concentric Circles of Outreach

Conducting outreach in concentric circles before, during, and after an event is essential in a crisis. Make sure you have stakeholder and other contact lists in tiers to ensure you're notifying the right people at the right time.

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