Communication is so pivotal in so many aspects of our lives and is key to healthy relationship. But, just like the candidates who are currently campaigning for President may find themselves in hot water over something they said—or didn’t say for that matter—so too can an organization, especially when a disruptive or unplanned event occurs or during an emergency or crisis situation.
Timely communication is key to handling crisis communication situations. Whether the goal is to inform someone of a hazard, activate an emergency action plan or generate awareness of a critical situation, communicating on time and effectively is vital to the success of contingency operations and recovery efforts when your organization faces an emergency. Crisis communications can be done well, but many times organizations make mistakes that cost them time, money and even their reputation. Here is a look at some crisis communication mistakes that can wreak havoc over your organization’s crisis communication plan:
- Ignorance about the crisis situation: Believing a crisis situation will somehow take care of itself is the biggest mistake you can make as an organization. You must have a realistic outlook towards the expected nature of crisis in your industry and have a robust plan to deal with it if it happens. Communicating the who, what, when and where early and often to your team will keep everyone informed.
- Wait for the crisis to go public before reacting: Huge mistake. When it comes to a crisis communication strategy, timing is everything. You cannot simply sit around and wait for the damage to reach its peak and get a strong foothold in the public’s mind before you react.
- Get on the wrong side of the media: You need to remember that no matter how bothersome they might seem sometimes, journalists are your best friend in this situation, and can go a long way in determining how your organization is portrayed in the public eye. Keep your comments with the media under strong check, being polite and prudent.
- Don’t make a promise you can’t keep: When the need for a crisis communication plan arises, it’s normal to want reassure to your employees and to the public that “everything will be okay.” Unless you are sure of that, don’t make the statement. Let people know what you do know but don’t make a promise you can’t keep—it will just make matters worse.
- Use business jargon while making public comments: Every statement you pass in a crisis communication message needs to be carefully weighed and directed towards calming everyone related to your organization, and ensuring them that things are in control. Using business jargon and arcane acronyms is never a good idea, and if anything, will just further complicate things.
- Refuse to take the opinion of stakeholders into account: You can’t afford to follow a know-it-all policy when it comes to crisis communication management, doing only what you believe is right. Communicating with your stakeholders, and asking them for their opinion on what they think would be the best approach in a particular situation is a great way to make them feel important and retain their trust in your organization.
- Make only written statements: Get out there and face your people! Talk face-to-face with your employees and the public with regular updates whether you have new information or not. Providing reassurance in a crisis communication situation can paint your organization in a positive light. Don’t just talk face-to-face either—use all channels of communication like email and text as well. You can reach an even broader audience with the use of social media if necessary (and you can do it all at once with RedFlag.
When you organization discusses crisis communication, be sure to talk about what do to as well as what not to do. Highlighting examples from the past in addition to the tips we have provided about will help secure successful crisis communications. After all, during an emergency you don’t want to have to be concerned with communications, a well prepared organization’s communications will flow properly and effectively so managers and leaders and get the situation resolved quickly.
For more information about the RedFlag Notification System—a crisis communication tool—please give us a call at 877-840-2444 of go to www.pocketstop.com to live chat with us today.