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Crisis management

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In business, crisis management is the process of coping with a major and likely unpredictable event that threatens to harm the company, its customers, its employees, its owners or other groups.

Crises typically have three elements:

  1. A threat to the company
  2. An element of surprise
  3. A short decision time

[edit] Crisis communication

Crisis communication is the term given to the way in which a company responds to the media and individuals affected by the crises. It is often considered a sub-specialty of public relations. The aim of crisis communication in this context is to assist organisations to achieve continuity of business processes and information flows under crisis, disaster or event driven circumstances.

Responding quickly, efficiently, effectively are the primary objectives of an effective crisis communication strategy. Harnassing technology and people to ensure a rapid and co-ordinated response to a range of potentially crippling scenarios distinguishes a well thought out and executed plan from a poorly or ill-considered one. The inherent lag time in marshalling responses to a crisis can result in a negative impact on the company's reputation as well as substantial impact on costs.

Effective crisis communication strategies will typically consider achieving most, if not all, of the following objectives:

  • Be readily accessible to the news media
  • Show empathy for the people involved
  • Allow access
  • Streamline communication processes
  • Maintain information security
  • Ensure uninterrupted audit trails
  • Deliver high volume communications
  • Support multi-channel communications

[edit] Pre planning is the key to effective crisis management

The best way to handle a crisis is to plan for one. The following steps should be followed[1]

  1. Have a crisis management plan and update it at least annually.
  2. Have a designate crisis management team that is properly trained.
  3. Conduct exercise at least annually to test the crisis management plan and team.
  4. Pre-draft select crisis management messages including content for dark web sites and templates for crisis statements. Have the legal department review and pre-approve these messages.

[edit] Crisis communications best practices

According to the Institute for Public Relations, the following are aspects of the best practices to follow for crisis: communications[2]

  1. Avoid the phrase "no comment" because people think it means the organization is guilty and trying to hide something
  2. Present information clearly by avoiding jargon or technical terms. Lack of clarity makes people think the organization is purposefully being confusing in order to hide something.
  3. Appear pleasant on camera by avoiding nervous habits that people interpret as deception. A spokesperson needs to have strong eye contact,limited disfluencies such as "uhms" or "uhs," and avoid distracting nervous gestures such as fidgeting or pacing.
  4. Brief all potential spokespersons on the latest crisis information and the key message points the organization is trying to convey to stakeholders.

[edit] Reference

  1. Institute for Public Relations
  2. Institute for Public Relations

[edit] See also