Why Communication Should Play A Bigger Role in Your Family’s Disaster Plan

Three named hurricanes now swirling around the U.S. and Harvey’s waters still receding should reinforce the notion that the time to prepare for a disaster is before it strikes. There’s a lot to learn from the periods of calm between disasters we, in my time at FEMA, called “blue sky.” Know What Threatens Your Family In my work to help... Read More

Special Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis – An Introduction

A crisis is the ultimate test of a company’s reputation and competency with the potential to jeopardize corporate identity and interrupt business operations. The response will obviously include communication. Investigations could ensue, victims and their families of whatever went wrong will likely require answers, and the media will ask tough questions - all reasons why handling a crisis properly is vital.... Read More

Special Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis – Triage and Prevention

For businesses or organizations facing a crisis, there are just two outcomes – success or failure. And the failures seem to take on a life of their own, supported by insatiable conversation, usually involving all the wrong people. We’ve seen these communications failures time and time again: Sports franchises. Investment firms. Auto, food and CPG manufacturers. Restaurant chains. Most often,... Read More

Special Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis – Building a Response

Effective crisis response requires a crisis response team, not merely a person. And while communication is essential, activating this team must come first. Communication with specific audiences comes last. Initial steps are key and, because of the rapid pace of new and emerging media, these initial actions should occur fast enough to allow for your first public communication to occur... Read More

Special Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis – Talking to News Media

Contrary to belief, reporters are usually not “out to get you.” They’re not approaching the telling of your story with the specific aim of ruining your reputation, damaging your organization or portraying your industry in a negative light. The media are, however, looking for a good story. Unfortunately, good news typically centers on the bad. Reporters have often already formulated their idea of the... Read More

Special Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis – Communicate Internally First

The importance of emotion and addressing it in crisis is underscored when we consider communicating internally. Emotion guides most all of human behaviors involving choice. The most notable choice in crisis is loyalty – among employees and other stakeholders. Preserving and fostering loyalty requires information and predetermined, pretested channels of message delivery. Without information, loyalty erodes rapidly. Employees’ needs vary... Read More

Special Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis – Developing Messaging

Predetermined messaging should serve to begin your response to a crisis. Still, the messaging may require fine-tuning to be applicable to the situation confronting your organization. A message, or key message, is a thought that supports what you are saying and reinforces your point. A key message ultimately makes it clear what you’re asking people to do, how you feel... Read More